The Life Influence of Billie Holiday.pdf

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Unformatted text preview: The​ ​Life​ ​&​ ​Influence​ ​of​ ​Billie while​ ​she​ ​was​ ​alive.​ ​The​ ​only Holiday publicization​ ​her​ ​death​ ​received​ ​was By​ ​Maya​ ​Pankratz an​ ​unnoteworthy​ ​obituary​ ​in​ ​The​ ​New Billie​ ​Holiday:​ ​a​ ​name​ ​that​ ​may seem​ ​meaningless​ ​to​ ​some,​ ​spark recognition​ ​in​ ​others,​ ​and​ ​for​ ​a​ ​few even​ ​stir​ ​something​ ​deep​ ​in​ ​their hearts​ ​as​ ​they​ ​regard​ ​the​ ​tragedy​ ​that was​ ​her​ ​life​ ​and​ ​the​ ​influence​ ​that​ ​she had​ ​on​ ​America.​ ​The​ ​jazz​ ​singer changed​ ​the​ ​way​ ​the​ ​public approached​ ​racism​ ​and​ ​was​ ​an inspiration​ ​to​ ​many​ ​with​ ​her​ ​courage and​ ​the​ ​difficulties​ ​she​ ​faced​ ​in​ ​life. She​ ​stood​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​large​ ​crowds​ ​to sing​ ​about​ ​a​ ​difficult​ ​subject,​ ​showing off​ ​her​ ​unique​ ​relationship​ ​with​ ​music and​ ​resonating​ ​with​ ​the​ ​emotions​ ​of her​ ​audience.​ ​Though​ ​her​ ​influence was​ ​prominent​ ​in​ ​her​ ​time-​ ​especially with​ ​those​ ​affected​ ​by​ ​the​ ​topics​ ​she covered​ ​in​ ​the​ ​song​ ​that​ ​she​ ​is primarily​ ​famous​ ​for,​ ​“Strange​ ​Fruit”Holiday​ ​received​ ​little​ ​media​ ​attention York​ ​Times​ ​and​ ​it​ ​was​ ​not​ ​until​ ​17 years​ ​after​ ​that​ ​one​ ​of​ ​her​ ​songs​ ​was awarded​ ​a​ ​Grammy,​ ​with​ ​22​ ​more wins​ ​and​ ​nominations​ ​to​ ​follow​ ​as well​ ​as​ ​an​ ​induction​ ​into​ ​the​ ​Rock​ ​and Roll​ ​Hall​ ​of​ ​Fame​ ​in​ ​2000.​​ ​The reasons​ ​for​ ​this​ ​lie​ ​not​ ​only​ ​in​ ​the blunt​ ​and​ ​jarring​ ​coverage​ ​of​ ​a​ ​taboo topic​ ​in​ ​her​ ​music,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​the​ ​events of​ ​her​ ​life​ ​and​ ​the​ ​controversy surrounding​ ​her​ ​autobiography,​ ​Lady Sings​ ​the​ ​Blues-​ ​which​ ​also​ ​shined light​ ​on​ ​racism​ ​in​ ​the​ ​time​.​ ​Despite any​ ​negativity​ ​associated​ ​with​ ​her name,​ ​however,​ ​today​ ​she​ ​is considered​ ​a​ ​revolutionizing​ ​force​ ​in both​ ​music​ ​and​ ​protest. An​ ​unquestionable​ ​aspect​ ​of​ ​the vexing​ ​life​ ​of​ ​Billie​ ​Holiday​ ​is​ ​that​ ​it was​ ​full​ ​of​ ​hardships​ ​and​ ​challenges, from​ ​a​ ​tough​ ​childhood​ ​to​ ​an​ ​equally grueling​ ​adulthood.​ ​She​ ​was​ ​born​ ​in Philadelphia​ ​on​ ​April​ ​7th​ ​1915​ ​and perform​ ​at​ ​a​ ​nightclub​ ​in​ ​1933​ ​and was​ ​raised​ ​away​ ​from​ ​her​ ​parents​ ​in instantly​ ​was​ ​drawn​ ​to​ ​her.​ ​With the​ ​care​ ​of​ ​her​ ​aunt,​ ​where​ ​she pianist​ ​Teddy​ ​Wilson,​ ​she​ ​began endured​ ​abuse​ ​from​ ​her​ ​cousin.​ ​At​ ​a recording​ ​and​ ​had​ ​released​ ​over​ ​100 young​ ​age​ ​she​ ​began​ ​cleaning​ ​for records​ ​in​ ​the​ ​1930s​ ​under​ ​the​ ​record others,​ ​eventually​ ​scrubbing​ ​floors label​ ​Columbia​ ​before​ ​many​ ​even and​ ​running​ ​errands​ ​for​ ​whorehouses knew​ ​her​ ​name.​ ​ ​After​ ​recording ​her in​ ​which​ ​she​ ​could​ ​hear​ ​music​ ​on​ ​the infamous​ ​song​ ​“Strange​ ​Fruit”​ ​in​ ​the record​ ​player.​ ​In​ ​her​ ​autobiography, later​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​decade​ ​and​ ​gaining she​ ​claimed​ ​to​ ​have​ ​been​ ​raped​ ​by​ ​a attention​ ​from​ ​many,​ ​Holiday’s​ ​life neighbor​ ​at​ ​10​ ​years​ ​old-​ ​however,​ ​the changed​ ​and​ ​she​ ​did​ ​with​ ​it, credibility​ ​of​ ​her​ ​autobiography​ ​has eventually​ ​discovering​ ​heroin​ ​in​ ​the been​ ​under​ ​scrutiny​ ​since​ ​it​ ​came​ ​out. early​ ​1940s,​ ​which​ ​ultimately​ ​led​ ​to After​ ​quitting​ ​school​ ​at​ ​12​ ​years​ ​and her​ ​demise.​ ​She​ ​was​ ​jailed​ ​for​ ​a​ ​year moving​ ​to​ ​New​ ​York,​ ​Holiday for​ ​heroin​ ​possession​ ​in​ ​1947,​ ​yet​ ​a worked​ ​as​ ​a​ ​maid​ ​then​ ​turned​ ​to mere​ ​10​ ​days​ ​following​ ​her​ ​release prostitution,​ ​which​ ​was​ ​the​ ​cause​ ​of she​ ​was​ ​on​ ​stage​ ​again,​ ​performing​ ​in her​ ​arrest​ ​at​ ​the​ ​age​ ​of​ ​14.​ ​Once​ ​out​ ​of Carnegie​ ​Hall.​ ​In​ ​1959,​ ​after​ ​suffering jail,​ ​she​ ​moved​ ​in​ ​with​ ​her​ ​mother​ ​in from​ ​heart​ ​disease​ ​and​ ​liver​ ​disease, Harlem​ ​(where​ ​her​ ​mother​ ​forced​ ​her Holiday​ ​went​ ​to​ ​a​ ​hospital​ ​where​ ​she to​ ​undergo​ ​an​ ​abortion​ ​in​ ​the​ ​home); was​ ​unknown,​ ​covered​ ​in​ ​needle on​ ​the​ ​verge​ ​of​ ​eviction,​ ​her​ ​music marks​ ​and​ ​possessing​ ​heroin.​ ​She​ ​was career​ ​began​ ​largely​ ​by​ ​chance.​ ​John arrested​ ​on​ ​drug​ ​charges​ ​and Hammond,​ ​the​ ​same​ ​record​ ​producer handcuffed​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bed​ ​when​ ​she​ ​died that​ ​signed​ ​Bob​ ​Dylan,​ ​heard​ ​Holiday on​ ​July​ ​14th​ ​at​ ​only​ ​44​ ​years​ ​of​ ​age, with​ ​most​ ​of​ ​her​ ​work​ ​out​ ​of​ ​print. Brody​ ​said​ ​in​ ​his​ ​The​ ​New​ ​Yorker The​ ​life​ ​of​ ​“Lady​ ​Day”​ ​(the​ ​nickname article​ ​“The​ ​Art​ ​of​ ​Billie​ ​Holiday’s given​ ​to​ ​Holiday​ ​by​ ​a​ ​friend)​ ​was Life”,​ ​“​Lady​ ​Sings​ ​the​ ​Blues​ ​is​ ​an riddled​ ​with​ ​hardships,​ ​racism,​ ​and exemplary​ ​report​ ​of​ ​the​ ​corruption misogyny,​ ​all​ ​of​ ​which​ ​led​ ​to​ ​her and​ ​self-deception​ ​on​ ​which​ ​the autobiography​ ​that​ ​greatly​ ​influenced country​ ​ran,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​constant​ ​threat​ ​of America,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​all​ ​the violence​ ​by​ ​which​ ​racist​ ​policies​ ​and posthumous​ ​recognition​ ​she​ ​received. practices​ ​were​ ​enforced.”​ ​However, Lady​ ​Sings​ ​the​ ​Blues​ ​faced there​ ​was​ ​found​ ​to​ ​be​ ​much much​ ​harsh​ ​attention​ ​from​ ​the​ ​media misinformation​ ​in​ ​the​ ​autobiography; due​ ​not​ ​only​ ​to​ ​the​ ​controversy​ ​that​ ​it for​ ​example,​ ​it​ ​stated​ ​that​ ​her​ ​parents presented​ ​but​ ​also​ ​the​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​the married​ when​ ​in​ ​reality​ ​they​ ​did​ ​not, public​ ​in​ ​that​ ​era​ ​did​ ​not​ ​want​ ​to​ ​deal and​ ​also​ ​gave​ ​different​ ​ages​ ​for​ ​them with​ ​the​ ​truth.​ ​The​ ​autobiography, in​ ​relation​ ​to​ ​Holiday’s​ ​birth.​ ​For written​ ​by​ ​Holiday’s​ ​friend​ ​William those​ ​reasons​ ​and​ ​more,​ ​the Dufty​ ​after​ ​many​ ​deep​ ​conversations credibility​ ​of​ ​the​ ​book​ ​has​ ​been with​ ​her,​ ​shined​ ​light​ ​on​ ​the​ ​racism questioned​ ​since​ ​its​ ​release.​ ​Yet​ ​it​ ​still that​ ​plagued​ ​America​ ​in​ ​the​ ​early influenced​ ​the​ ​United​ ​States​ ​with​ ​its twentieth​ ​century.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​book,​ ​she words​ ​on​ ​racism,​ ​and​ ​as​ ​Brody​ ​also spoke​ ​of​ ​times​ ​such​ ​as​ ​being​ ​called stated​ ​in​ ​his​ ​article,​ ​“Holiday​ ​offers, derogatory​ ​names​ ​used​ ​towards in​ ​Lady​ ​Sings​ ​the​ ​Blues​,​ ​a​ ​picture​ ​of​ ​a African​ ​Americans​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​the world​ ​in​ ​which​ ​speaking​ ​the​ ​truth racism​ ​she​ ​faced​ ​performing​ ​in​ ​the could​ ​get​ ​her​ ​slaughtered​ ​or South,​ ​where​ ​she​ ​had​ ​to​ ​darken​ ​her imprisoned.”​ ​These​ ​words​ ​related​ ​not skin​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​be​ ​on​ ​stage.​ ​Richard only​ ​to​ ​Billie​ ​Holiday,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​to women​ ​and​ ​African​ ​Americans​ ​all song​ ​instantly,​ ​Meeropol​ ​said over​ ​the​ ​country​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time. differently-​ ​in​ ​his​ ​version​ ​of​ ​the​ ​story, Arguably​ ​the​ ​greatest​ ​influence she​ ​only​ ​performed​ ​it​ ​for​ ​the​ ​first​ ​time that​ ​Billie​ ​Holiday​ ​had​ ​in​ ​her​ ​time as​ ​a​ ​favor​ ​and​ ​seemed​ ​very was​ ​with​ ​the​ ​song​ ​that​ ​made​ ​her uncomfortable​ ​with​ ​it.​ ​There​ ​was famous,​ ​“Strange​ ​Fruit”.​ ​The​ ​song evidence​ ​supporting​ ​this,​ ​as​ ​later​ ​in was​ ​originally​ ​written​ ​by​ ​Abel her​ ​career​ ​she​ ​refused​ ​to​ ​discuss​ ​any Meeropol,​ ​a​ ​Jewish​ ​communist,​ ​and political​ ​issues​ ​or​ ​anything​ ​regarding published​ ​as​ ​a​ ​poem​ ​under​ ​the​ ​total the​ ​song​ ​as​ ​soon​ ​as​ ​she​ ​was​ ​off​ ​the “Bitter​ ​Fruit”​ ​in​ ​1937​ ​in​ ​a​ ​New​ ​York stage.​ ​The​ ​first​ ​time​ ​the​ ​song​ ​was teacher’s​ ​magazine.​ ​The​ ​song​ ​had performed,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​in​ ​a​ ​club​ ​owned​ ​by been​ ​circulating​ ​around​ ​the​ ​country Barney​ ​Josephson,​ ​whose​ ​aim​ ​was​ ​to prior​ ​to​ ​its​ ​discovery​ ​by​ ​Holiday,​ ​but make​ ​its​ ​rendering​ ​as​ ​dramatic​ ​as possible.​ ​The​ ​lights​ ​were​ ​turned​ ​down and​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​Holiday’s​ ​face​ ​and​ ​the waiters​ ​stopped​ ​service​ ​prior​ ​to​ ​the performance,​ ​which​ ​was​ ​the​ ​closing song​ ​of​ ​her​ ​act.​ ​In​ ​Dorian​ ​Lynskey’s 33​ ​Revolutions​ ​Per​ ​Minute,​ ​Josephson was​ ​quoted​ ​saying​ ​“People​ ​had​ ​to remember​ ​[the​ ​song],​ ​get​ ​their​ ​insides burned​ ​by​ ​it.”​ ​That​ ​was​ ​exactly​ ​the Meeropol​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​it​ ​to​ ​the young​ ​jazz​ ​singer.​ ​Though​ ​she claimed​ ​to​ ​have​ ​fallen​ ​in​ ​love​ ​with​ ​the outcome-​ ​after​ ​the​ ​song,​ ​there​ ​was shocked​ ​silence​ ​followed​ ​by​ ​wild applause.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​no​ ​question​ ​why​ ​this song​ ​chilled​ ​the​ ​blood​ ​of​ ​those​ ​that they​ ​could​ ​be​ ​art.”​ ​This​ ​was​ ​largely heard​ ​it,​ ​with​ ​lyrics​ ​such​ ​as​ ​the due​ ​to​ ​Holiday’s​ ​talent​ ​and​ ​unique opening​ ​few​ ​lines,​ ​“Southern​ ​trees relationship​ ​with​ ​music;​ ​she​ ​had​ ​the bear​ ​a​ ​strange​ ​fruit/​ ​Blood​ ​on​ ​the ability​ ​to​ ​make​ ​the​ ​emotions​ ​in​ ​her leaves​ ​and​ ​blood​ ​at​ ​the​ ​root/​ ​Black songs​ ​believable​ ​and​ ​resonate​ ​with​ ​the body​ ​swinging​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Southern​ ​breeze/ audience.​ ​Overall,​ ​this​ ​song​ ​had​ ​the Strange​ ​fruit​ ​hanging​ ​from​ ​the​ ​poplar greatest​ ​impact​ ​on​ ​America​ ​in​ ​regards trees.”​ ​Even​ ​in​ ​today’s​ ​world,​ ​words to​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​Billie​ ​Holiday’s​ ​work such​ ​as​ ​those​ ​would​ ​be​ ​enough​ ​to and​ ​changed​ ​the​ ​face​ ​of​ ​racism​ ​and strike​ ​something​ ​in​ ​the​ ​heart​ ​of protest​ ​music. anyone,​ ​and​ ​in​ ​those​ ​times-​ ​when In​ ​conclusion,​ ​Billie​ ​Holiday such​ ​a​ ​subject​ ​was​ ​taboo-​ ​it​ ​had​ ​even was​ ​a​ ​revolutionizing​ ​force​ ​in​ ​music more​ ​of​ ​an​ ​effect​ ​on​ ​the​ ​listeners.​ ​The and​ ​protest​ ​and​ ​greatly​ ​influenced song​ ​came​ ​to​ ​define​ ​Billie​ ​Holiday​ ​as America​ ​in​ ​her​ ​time.​ ​She​ ​had​ ​a​ ​unique much​ ​as​ ​it​ ​defined​ ​protest​ ​songs; relationship​ ​with​ ​music​ ​and​ ​it​ ​was named​ ​song​ ​of​ ​the​ ​century​ ​by​ ​Time shown​ ​in​ ​the​ ​her​ ​slow​ ​style​ ​and​ ​how magazine​ ​(at​ ​least,​ ​the​ ​first​ ​studio she​ ​changed​ ​every​ ​song​ ​she​ ​sang. recording​ ​with​ ​Commodore​ ​Records- Some,​ ​including​ ​her​ ​producer​ ​John Columbia​ ​refused​ ​to​ ​record​ ​the​ ​song- Hammond​ ​stated​ ​that​ ​Holiday​ ​was in​ ​the​ ​Cafe​ ​Society​ ​Band​ ​was​ ​granted herself​ ​an​ ​instrumentalist,​ ​with​ ​her that​ ​title),​ ​“Strange​ ​Fruit” voice​ ​as​ ​her​ ​sole​ ​channel.​ ​Richard revolutionized​ ​protest​ ​music.​ ​Lynskey Brody​ ​even​ ​stated​ ​in​ ​“The​ ​Art​ ​of also​ ​stated​ ​in​ ​his​ ​book,​ ​“Up​ ​to​ ​this Billie​ ​Holiday’s​ ​Life”,​ ​“Of​ ​all​ ​jazz point,​ ​protest​ ​songs​ ​functioned​ ​as singers,​ ​Holiday​ ​is​ ​the​ ​one​ ​who​ ​is​ ​a propaganda,​ ​but​ ​[this​ ​song]​ ​proved jazz​ ​musician.”​ ​Despite​ ​all​ ​of​ ​this​ ​and the​ ​impact​ ​she​ ​had​ ​on​ ​America,​ ​it​ ​is evident​ ​from​ ​the​ ​story​ ​of​ ​her​ ​life​ ​that Billie​ ​Holiday​ was​ ​just​ ​another​ ​person that​ ​had​ ​a​ ​difficult​ ​life​ ​marred​ ​with tragedy,​ ​which​ ​lead​ ​to​ ​the​ ​decisions she​ ​made​ ​that​ ​ultimately​ ​caused​ ​her downfall.​ ​She​ ​wasn’t​ ​some​ ​great figure​ ​to​ ​be​ ​idolized​ ​and​ ​placed​ ​on​ ​a pedestal;​ ​however,​ ​the​ ​courage​ ​that​ ​it took​ ​to​ ​speak​ ​out​ ​(or,​ ​in​ ​her​ ​case,​ ​sing and​ ​write)​ ​regarding​ ​subjects​ ​that​ ​no one​ ​else​ ​would​ ​in​ ​such​ ​a​ ​blatant​ ​way definitely​ ​deserves​ ​recognition,​ ​as well​ ​as​ ​the​ ​way​ ​that​ ​courage influenced​ ​society. ...
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