The Life of Bert Williams

By: Kayla McCargo

1874-1922

Bert Williams was famous for his minstrel shows but more importantly he was famous for performing Black Face. He witnessed "white" people putting cork on their faces and pretending to be "black" and making stereotypical jokes on stage. So, Williams thought why let someone who's not us do it... when we could perform this ourselves! Which is exactly what Williams did.

Bert Williams in "Nobody"

Nobody was one Bert Williams famous pieces. Made in 1906, it was one of the saddest songs ever written. However, at the same it held some humor to it.


Excerpt lyrics to Nobody:


When life seems full of clouds and rain

And I am full of nothin' and pain

Who soothes my thumping, bumping brain, hmmm?

Nobody!


When winter comes with snow and sleet

And me with hunger and cold feet

Who says, "Here's twenty-five cents, go ahead and get somethin' to eat, go on why doncha?"

Nobody!


I ain't never done nothin' to nobody

I ain't never doe nothin' to nobody, no time

So until I get somethin' from somebody sometime

I'll never do nothin' for nobody, no time

Nobody - Bert Williams (1906)