Friday, October 29, 2010

Real Life Women Superheroes - Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday personified "strong woman". She sang powerful Blues music with gritty lyrics in the days when women and particularly Blacks were still viewed as "lesser". She wasn't even allowed to use the same elevators as the white folks when she was bringing the entertainment for the evening. This didn't stop her from using her music for political activism. Posted below are the lyrics to Strange Fruit, a song protesting the lynchings going on in the South at the same time as people flocked to listen to the melodic notes of Blues and Jazz.

"People don't understand the kind of fight it takes to record what you want to record the way you want to record it."

"No two people on earth are alike, and it's got to be that way in music or it isn't music."

"A kiss that is never tasted, is forever and ever wasted."

Strange Fruit
Southern trees bear strange fruit

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the popular trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter cry

Billie Holiday inspired etsy finds

Billie Holiday inspired white magnolia from Vintage Box 1947

Teacup with Billie Holiday lyrics Teaspoons and Petals

Jazzy Harmonica Necklace from Contrary


Kym said...

What a nice post and the etsy finds are great. Billie Holiday inspired goodies, just really, really nice.

Brooke Ann Dove said...

Strange Fruit is my favorite Billie Holiday song. I used it for a poetry lesson at school. Wonderful picks!

I'm Alee. said...

This was such a beautiful post. Many people in my generation don't take the time to pay homage to the musicians that made way for the folks we hear on the radio today-especially in African American culture. Thank you for this, I'll definitely be following your blog.

Jamie said...

Oh I love Billie Holiday and I love to see you pay homage, that song is amazing. I remember the first few times I listened to it, I wasn't sure of the words so I looked them up. I was so amazed when I realized what it was about, gut wrenching.

Amyschmamey said...

I love Billie Holiday. Voice and Style. That girl had it all!