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African American Music Essay

1184 words - 5 pages

Billie Holiday was an African-American jazz singer and songwriter.Billie Holiday was the biological child of Sadie Fagan and Clarence Holiday. Sadie was thirteen when she had Billie. At the same time, Clarence was an irresponsible father who did not care about his daughter's Billie. From Billie's early life, she grew up in a broken family. In other word, she had no father to support throughout her childhood and her mother who was struggling financially as a teen mom that often neglect the time to take care of Billie. Therefore, Billie's childhood was missing love from both parents. Aside from that, Billie traveled from place to place along with her mother in order to survive. For example, Billie's mother worked as a server on the passenger railroad. Holiday was take care by her half-sister aunt named Martha Miller. Holiday was frequently running away from school. As a result of that, she was sent to the House of the Good Shepherd for nine months starting from March 19, 1925.Later on, she was released on October 3, 1925 to her mother who had opened a restaurant called East Side Grill. As a young girl, she did not receive much of formal school and Holiday was forced to drop out of school at the age of eleventh. Holiday's mom discovered that her neighbor named Wilbur Rich was raping her daughter's Billie. Once again, Billie was placed to the House of the Good Shepeard in protective custody as a state witness in the rape case. She was then released in 1927 and worked as an errand in a brothel. One year later, Billie's mother moved on New York City to find a better job as a prostitute in Harlem. On 1929, Billie also moved to Harlem to become a prostitute. Billie was fourteen when she was prostitute for $5 per client. Unfortunately, the brothel was track down. Thus, both Billie and her mother were sent to jail for prostitution. Holiday began her singing career when she was in Harlem in several night clubs. She became famous and later a drug abuser. Her marriage was not successful with Johnnie Monroe. Her health got worsen over the years
Holiday’s achievement was when she started recording for Columbia. This was when she sold 1500 copies for the song “I Cried For You.” Her song “I’m Gonna Lock My Heart” reached number two on the pop chart.
One of the significance contribution that she made throughout her music career was when she was starting to record for Columbia in the late 30s when her album ‘”Strange Fruit”, a song from a poem about lynching. In fact, she received a recognizable in the Time magazine The God Bless the Child ‘became Holiday’s most popular record. In fact, it reached to the top 25 charts in 1941 and third place in Billboard’s songs for the years and selling over a million records. In 1976, the song was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame. On June 24, 1942, her song “Lady Day” reached 23 on the pop charts and number one on the Rhythme and Blue charts. Her song” Lover Man” reached to number 16 on the pop and number 5 on the Rhythms and...

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