Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Bessie Smith Movie Coming Out

I'm excited to see it. I wonder if there will be any references to hoodoo as there are in Bessie's songs. I'm also really pleased that they are not whitewashing her sexuality. Bessie was at best bisexual but I strongly feel that she was a lesbian who only married men out of societal pressure. I'm also pleased that Queen Latifah is playing Bessie Smith. The movie debuts on HBO on May 16, 2015.

Bessie Smith - Lady Luck Blues (1923)

In Lady Luck Blues, Bessie sings about various good luck charms and rites, such as horseshoes and knocking on wood, as well as mentions performing a work involving using goofer dust in a love rite to draw her man back. I've always wondered if this song was truly about a man or was Bessie simply changing the gender and pronouns of her lover in order to create a song that was acceptable to society of that time.

Trivia: After Bessie died in a car crash at the age of 43 she was buried in an unmarked grave. Janis Joplin, who credited Bessie for her inspiration, later paid for a headstone for her grave.

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