Happy Birthday, Lady Day

April 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

“If I`m going to sing like someone else, then I don`t need to sing at all.”

I adore Billie Holiday.

From that perfect, syrupy warble to the flowers she adorned in her hair; ain’t no doubt about it, there’s no one like Billie.

She came to this earth and brought with her such a remarkable gift. Her voice ached with such sorrow, as if no one was able to hear her. I for one endeavored to listen, ears perked, absorbing every blue-drenched note. Billie sang in a time when most probably never saw her face. Before the advent of our modern mass media, it was the power of her voice that stopped people in their tracks. Being a Black woman during the 40s & 50s should have kept her further from the spotlight. Needless to say, she perserved and we’ve been graced with such an elegant face whose eyes reveal truth.

That iconic gardenia adds this magnificent glow that is often imitated but rarely as effective. Juxtaposed with those ink black eyes, here before us is a woman who has been through it all. The dope was never a panacea and I wish it didn’t take her away piece by piece.

Personally, my favourite look is when she would tie her hair back in a sleek pony tail. Elegantly paired with a long black dress covering her from neck to heel, yet revealing a fine form in silhouette. Just watch the video below; I love how her golden leaf earrings dangle to create flares on camera. With that voice, that face – I am awestruck with this gorgeous creature.

The Grand Dame of Jazz would have been 96 years-old today if wasn’t for that all consuming pain this world has a tendency of inflicting. Maybe its best she’s travelling light for a little while.

Happy Birthday, Billie.

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