Etta Moten (5 November 1901 - 2 January 2004) was an African-American actress and singer.

She was born in Weiman, Texas, the daughter of a Methodist minister. She married one of her high school teachers and had three daughters, but the marriage faltered.

She then attended the University of Kansas, graduating with a degree in voice and drama, then moved to New York City, where sang with the Eva Jessye Choir. She was cast in the Broadway show Zombie.

She became, on 31 January 1933, the first black star to perform at the White House. She appeared in two musical films in 1933, Flying Down to Rio (singing "The Carioca") and Gold Diggers of 1933. She married Claude Barnett, the head of the Associated Negro Press. She was cast by George Gershwin as a replacement Bess in the Broadway revival of Porgy and Bess in 1942, and was also in the touring company.

She stopped performing in 1952, because of vocal problems. She subsequently was involved with the National Council of Negro Women, the Chicago Lyric Opera and the Field Museum. She was also host of a radio show in Chicago.

She died of pancreatic cancer at Chicago's Mercy Hospital.



  • Flying Down to Rio (1933)
  • Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)