Celebrating Carole Denise Fredericks (1952-2001)

Because I love the French language (almost) as much as I love Paris, I am pleased to host this page in honor of Carole Fredericks – phenomenal singer, philanthropist, and ambassador of American culture in France.

Album cover: Best of Carole Fredericks

While she was not the first American performing artist to enjoy success in France, Carole was the first singer since Josephine Baker to enjoy unparalleled access to the inner circles of the French music industry. She became a popular music icon in her adopted land and in Francophone Africa, winning the hearts of fans first on her own and then with the trio of Fredericks Goldman Jones.

Part of what made Carole so successful was her mastery of the French language. Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, she had only limited exposure to French in the United States. She immigrated to France in 1979 and determined to master the language by immersing herself in French culture. She lived in France for 22 years and became fluent through performing and recording songs in French. Numerous French producers cast her in films because of her language skills.

Carole died of a heart attack in Dakar, Senegal on June 7, 2001, after performing at a benefit concert to raise funds for a children’s hospital there. Her body was repatriated to France and buried in Montmartre Cemetery on June 18, 2001. Five years later, her family established the Carole D. Fredericks Foundation, whose mission is to enrich the quality of foreign language education in general and the quality of French language education in particular. Director Connie Fredericks-Malone (Carole’s sister) has committed the organization to accomplishing this by:

  • creating French language instructional materials from Carole’s music
  • raising public awareness of the advantages of learning a foreign language
  • promoting the study of Francophone cultures from a global perspective.

Carole D. Fredericks DVD and Activity Book (Advanced)
for French Language Instruction

One of the ways that the Carole D. Fredericks Foundation promotes the study of francophone cultures is to encourage study abroad and travel to France. Because Discover Paris! and Entrée to Black Paris tours are staunch supporters of study abroad, we are committed to partnering with the foundation to help it achieve this goal.

Carole Fredericks is featured in the e-book Black Paris Profiles. She was a contemporary African-American woman whose life and work left an indelible imprint on France’s musical heritage.

1 comment:

helenko said...

I learned about her through her brother Taj Mahal. What a singer!