Now age 85, Lottie The Body Graves maintains a loving home
with her current husband. She invited
me to sit at the kitchen table. Spread out were PR photo images. “Pick out what
you like and I will autograph them”. In the background her framed history was hanging on
the walls. She is preparing a book on
Lottie‘s parents were from Barbados. She was born in 1930
in South Carolina. At age one her parents settled in Syracuse, NY. She grew up
in a home vibrating with Afro-Cuban dance form and music. She studied classical dance and easily
incorporated the influences from home into a highly skill professional dancer.
In 1947 she graduated from high school and moved to New
York City and started her career in show business with the Alan White Dancers
and various theatre groups. “I was
always the principal - never in the chorus!”
For 16 years Lottie was booked in to Burlesque clubs
nationally. Her lavish costumes, and skilled dancing of the Socca, Chi-Chi, Calypso
and Cuban styles made her act unique.
During that time she toured with the BB
King Review and worked with a lot of great talents.
She was married to Harlem Globetrotters talent, Goose Tatum
for six years. “Well, he was quite a bit
older. I still performed, and traveled with the team to Cuba. I met Castro.”
Later she shook hands with “the handsomest man I had ever met. Oscar
Graves. He was a high end clothing salesman from Detroit. We married
and that’s how I got to Detroit. His noted brother Robert Graves was good
Over the years she has received many honors, proudly displayed on the hall walls.
We stepped out onto her patio where she cares for her family of flowers. “You know I was the host at the 20 Grand Lounge in Detroit, where I introduced all the Motown acts. Such lovely people. Later I worked at BoMac’s Bar where the best jazz in town could be heard.
"I am now retired. My
hips just don’t shimmy like they used to”.
Note: www.coffeerhetoric.com for more Lottie information.