Happy Women’s History Month! In celebration of the women who have inspired us throughout history, a few of my blogger friends and I teamed up to bring you our first collaboration! Exciting right? We each are sharing with you an icon who inspires us, celebrating their life by re-creating an iconic photo of theirs!
I thought long and hard of someone who inspires me. I considered everyone, from Oprah Winfrey, to my grandmother who continues to inspire me everyday. However, I chose to feature someone who many of you may not know…Bessie Smith.
So, who is Bessie Smith? Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Bessie Smith was easily the most influential and highest-paid black entertainer of her day! With her strong voice, Bessie toured as a 1920’s blues/jazz singer, recording with musicians such as Louis Armstrong and James P. Johnson…she even toured on Broadway! She broke racial barriers that existed during that time, enamoring both black and white audiences with her powerful voice. Bessie’s music is credited as influencing many popular singers, such as Mahalia Jackson, Janis Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Aretha Franklin!
As you may know, I have a deep love for music of all kinds. However, blues and jazz music hold a special place in my heart. I can spend hours listening to tunes from Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, many of their songs tied to different experiences and emotions that I’ve had in life. When I found out that they directly attributed their own love of music to Bessie Smith, I developed my own affinity for her. Can you imagine a world without Michael Jackson!? There would be no Usher, no Chris Brown, or no Justin Bieber without the music of Michael Jackson. That would be the world of jazz without Bessie Smith. She inspires me to continue after my dreams, regardless of the odds or the hostility of my environment. Bessie inspires me to break barriers, and heal wounds of hate. Bessie inspires me to inspire others, whether it be with my talent, or just in my daily walk of life. All that I do is not for myself, but for others who will come after me. It would be such an honor to inspire others to achieve their dreams, as I have achieved mine.
When re-creating this iconic image of Bessie Smith, I wanted to capture her excitement in the moment. Besides the giant feather and the bedazzled head wrap, it was her joy that caught my eye. How did I do? I know it’s not quite the same, but do you think I captured her image well? What icon image would you re-create? Let me know!
Don’t forget to check out who the rest of my blogger babes chose for their Women’s History Month re-creation! Head over to Your Noir Diva next to discover her famous icon…
Until Next Time,