Billie Holiday

Jillian Finnell

Billie's Life

Billie Holiday was born in 1950, in Philadelphia ,Pennsylvania. Billie didn't have the best life growing up. When Billie was a child she skipped school a lot and caused trouble. Her mother sent her to The House of the Good Shepherd, Which is a school for troubled African american girls. She stayed with a lot of abusive relatives because her mom was not capable of taking care of her. Billie also had a very bad drug addiction throughout her life. At the age of 18 she was signed by a guy named John Hammond and he became her manager. Billie was also in an all white orchestra band. But she soon dropped out of it because of what people thought about her. People thought it was bad since she was a different color than the rest of them. What Billie thought was wrong was the lynchings that they did. She wrote a song about it called “Strange Fruit”. Billie soon left her manager because they wouldn't help her record the song. She later signed with Decca records. Racism was a big part of Billie's life. People looked at her differently because she didn't look like them. But that didn't stop her from accomplishing her dreams. Billie was one of the most successful women jazz musicians. She was also an actor. She was in a show with Louis Armstrong. She was also on ABC reality series called “The Comeback Series”. On July 17, 1959 Billie dies of a drug overdose. She was only 44 years old. Even though Billie was gone, her legend continued. In the 1980’s she won two Grammy awards for her music. Also in 2000 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Billie really didn't have an impact on a lot of people. But the songs she wrote had a good meaning to them. She changed what people thought about Jazz. She was one of the best musicians.