Betty Boop: ever wondered the inspiration behind her? Though portrayed as a voluptuous, innocent-eyed cartoon vixen, Esther Jones is the most legitimate link to the famed animated character.

In the spirit of Black History Month, homage should be given to Ms. Jones. In the 1920s, her “baby” singing style gave rise to the conceptualization of Betty Boop. Although it has been well documented that an individual by the name of Helen Kane stole her routine and further popularized the act before the character was officially placed onto the big screen by Fleischer Studios, that should not take away from Jones’ fundamental contribution. Her performance style and catchy song making was the embryo that ultimately developed into Boop. Check out a comparison of Kane, who imitated Jones’ singing style, and Boop:


Always remember Jones laid the foundation for Betty Boop’s theme and served as the entertainment inspiration for the famed cartoon character. Some may say Kane stealing the routine created a disconnect that removed Jones from the picture, but what goes unrecognized is Kane appropriated an entire persona, which wholly belonged to Jones. All hail Esther Jones: the original Betty Boop that conceived her own style and forged a path fit for her shoes alone.