Lena Horne was an amazing singer and stunning on screen. Audiences loved her.
But she was limited on the roles she could play. Being African-American, she could only play lead roles in movies that were shown in black theaters. To be in a movie shown in white theaters, African-American actors were allowed to only play servant rolls, which she refused to do. So she opted to take small performance rolls that could be cut from the film when shown in less accepting theaters.
She was actually quite light skinned, so when she did play lead rolls next to dark skinned men, the studio asked the makeup department to darken her skin tone.
Max Factor was working for MGM at the time and developed a shade especially for her called Light Egyptian.
Unfortunately the makeup also hurt the progress of minority women in the film industry. It didn’t take long for studios to use the makeup to darken white women so they could play minority parts in all white casts… the irony being that this makeup designed for a black woman was making it harder for minorities to gain parts in movies.