Billie Holiday

By: Zakiyyah Winston

The Life of Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday was born April 7, 1915 in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Her given birth name was Elenora Fagan. Sadie, Elenora’s mother was only a teenager when she had Billie. Many believe her father was Clarence Holiday, a jazz musician. Billie’s father was not around in her life. Billie was a troublemaker, as a kid at the age of nine, Elenora was sent to a facility for troubled girls. Elenora left but later returned in 1926 after being sexually assaulted. In the late 1920’s Billie and her mother Sadie moved to Harlem, New York. Billie had a troubled childhood and the only thing that eased the pain of it was music.

In Harlem, Elenora changed her name to Billie Holiday after the movie star Billie Dove. In Harlem Billie got her start as a jazz singer. Billie was founded by John Hammond. Billie was known for her distinctive and soothing voice. But right when she got to the top it seemed like it was all crashing down. Billie Holiday was a drug addict and alcoholic. For awhile she was in trouble with the police but later came back and did a successful tour in Europe. Billie had many hits, some being, “God Bless the Child”, “He Calls Me Crazy”, and one of the most controversial, “Strange Fruit”. “Strange Fruit” was so controversial because it was about racism in the south. Billie Holiday passed away July 17, 1959 because of drug and alcohol related complications. She may have died but she would have been always remembered.
Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit

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