Homosexuality and feminism in the life of the black divas ma rainey and bessy smith

Sep 30, El rated it really liked it Recommended to El by: The second half of the book are the lyrics to the songs recorded by the three singers Rainey, Smith, and Holiday and then Notes. That was a startling ending is all I am sayin.

Homosexuality and feminism in the life of the black divas ma rainey and bessy smith

Chris Albertson writes Bessie tried to keep Jack from discovering several aspects of her private life, such as the wide range of her sexual tastes.

Fortunately Jack could not read; otherwise he might have seen a short item in a black gossip paper called the Interstate Tatler. It is not known at what stage in her life Bessie began to embrace her own sex.

Little Known Black History Fact: Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith | Black America Web

At sixteen her head was filled with hazy pictures of life on the road; her heart was set on becoming, at the least, a chorine.

Ruby then arranged an impromptu audition before Bessie in the Gee living room on I32nd Street. Just before the troupe got ready to pull out of Ozark, a chorus girl told Bessie that while she was in New York, Jack had "messed around" with another chorus girl. Without taking time to check out the story, Bessie jumped the girl, beat her up, and threw her off the railroad car, which was still parked on a dead track Then she stormed through the railroad car looking for Jack A shot rang out.

Bessie stood on the rear platform of the car, gun in hand. Bessie jumped off the platform and went after him, emptying the gun. Bessie had been on good behavior for several months, and now she was ready for some fun. The troupe spent Christmas of on the road somewhere in Tennessee, where Bessie threw a small party for her gang.

She went out and got eggs, milk, and liquor for eggnog, but after the girls had beaten the eggs and added sugar and liquor, Bessie had second thoughts about the milk-it seemed a shame to dilute that good corn liquor any further. The resulting concoction left no one sober. Ruby and Lillian shared a room, but when Ruby awoke the next day she saw that Lillian had not slept in her bed.

No one in the troupe was shocked when Lillian and Bessie began sleeping together regularly. Lillian herself seemed to adjust to her relationship with Bessie as quickly as she had adjusted to the other unorthodox aspects of her newly chosen profession.

Several days later, Bessie was on stage at the Frolic Theatre in Bessemer, Alabama, singing; the chorus was ready to go on. Ruby, first in line, stood in the wings not far from where Bessie was performing.

Ruby had developed a boil under her left arm, and was holding her painful left arm in the air. Concentrating on her cue, she did not notice Dinah Scott [a male, comedian, and stage manager] sneaking up behind her. He grabbed her under the arms and Ruby let out a scream.

Helen, another chorine, ran forward with a tissue and put her arms around Ruby while she gently daubed at what was left of the boil. Shortly after the curtain came down, she stomped over to Ruby and asked her to step outside.

Ruby fought back, and the two were deeply entangled when Bessie made a sudden appearance. Jack was due to join the show that night, and when he showed up, Bessie was ready for him.

Several members of the troupe were sitting in her room when Jack entered and looked around. When Jack asked her to turn around, she explained-as her aunt had instructed her-that her face was scratched because she and some of the girls had fought over costumes. Turning to Ruby, she said, "Whatever you do, you better not tell on me and Lillian.

Jack had left the troupe again, and Bessie and Lillian continued their affair.

Homosexuality and feminism in the life of the black divas ma rainey and bessy smith

On their first day in St. Louis, Bessie entered the room shared by Ruby and Lillian. She walked up behind Lillian, leaned forward, and kissed her. Embarrassed, Lillian looked at Ruby and jerked away.

Bessie grabbed her around the waist. On the fourth night Lillian did not show up at the theatre. The show went on without her, but as soon as the curtain fell Bessie started to worry.Watch video · Life on the road also created an atmosphere that allowed for a more relaxed moral code than society would generally permit.

Carousing and sexual adventure were not uncommon. In this light, it has often been suggested that Ma Rainey’s influence over the young Bessie Smith was more than professional.

Tomorrow night on HBO, Bessie will introduce viewers to queer legends of soul music, Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique, respectively, star as the traveling blues singers who had relationships with both women and men.

Homosexuality and feminism in the life of the black divas ma rainey and bessy smith

Sisterhood is clearly evident in the friendship between Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. In fact, in when Rainey was arrested for throwing an indecent party with other women, Bessie Smith was the. Male impersonator Gladys Fergusson is mentioned as an intimate of Bessie Smith's, and another famous blues singer, Bessie Smith's early teacher, Ma Rainey, is cited as a woman-loving woman.

Porter Grainger, the Black composer of one of Bessie Smith's musicals, is mentioned as homosexual. This Bessie Smith documentary produced by The Biography Channel (Bio.) offers a short overview of Bessie's life and death.

It touches on her early days with Ma Rainey to traveling the country during segregation and eventually being discovered by Columbia Records.

Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday Bessie Smith (American Jazz) Delicious Holiday Treats: A Collection of Healthy Holiday Recipes (Dessert Recipes, Holiday, Seasonal, Desserts, Thanksgiving Recipes, Christmas Recipes) (Volume 1).

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