LaJune Rodgers & The RAPA House
Mrs. LaJune Rodgers was an esteemed dancer, businesswoman, and ambassador in the black entertainment industry. After touring the country and Caribbean with her husband Ernest Rodgers as the Adagio Dancers, the couple founded Detroit’s first black talent agency known as The Rodgers and Rodgers Theatrical Agency. Following Ernest’s passing in the 1950’s, LaJune headed the agency and it became one of the leading agencies for black talent such as Lottie the Body, Roxy Ann, Mona Desmond, Johnnie Lee Hooker and other prominent jazz and blues musicians of the time. LaJune also worked with Motown founder Berry Gordy, in booking talent for his record company. Described as the “Guardian Angel” and “Matriarch of a talented family,” (Paradise Valley Days, 70) LaJune expanded her dedication to the performing arts in co-founding the Detroit Entertainers Club and Rodgers Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA House) with the help of her son and jazz musician Virgil Rodgers. During its time, the RAPA House gained notoriety for its Creole cuisine and as a space for performing artists to socialize, create, and perfect their craft. Outside of the RAPA House, she provided literary resources for writers such as workshops and a magazine titled “Identity,” earning her a federal grant to continue her projects.