Billie Holiday Musician and Racial Discrimination Descriptive Essay

Question Description

I’m trying to learn for my Social Science class and I’m stuck. Can you help?

Hello, for this assignment please read the description below it has everything you need to know. Please write 1000-1500 word, cover all the required topics. thank you.

Choose one of the following jazz artists/groups from the list below to research the way(s) in which race and/or diversity played a role in their interactions with American society in the earlier part of the 20th century (1900’s -1960’s.) This could include employment issues - performance opportunities, equal treatment, touring issues – hotels, travel options, etc.), criminal justice issues (cabaret cards, arrests, drug use-targeting of musicians and neighborhoods, etc.) and other societal issues of the day. Learn how they responded (or were forced to respond) to these issues and how they involved themselves in issues of civil rights and race and diversity discrimination. Discuss how they used their music or status in the entertainment industry to address these issues.


  1. Papers need to be written in a professional style. Basic standards for grammar, sentence structure, citations (if used), and other considerations for a Research Paper style assignment need to be observed. APA or MLA citation standards should be used.
  1. In order to achieve the highest grade you need to include the following topics in your presentation:
  1. A short description of the Artist or group and what issue(s) of discrimination based on race and/or diversity you are writing about.
  2. How race and/or diversity affected their interaction with society during their historical period in America
  3. What sort of responses (if any) the artist/group made to react to the racially/diversity-divided society found in America as jazz music grew along with the country.
  4. How the artist/group used their music or status in the entertainment industry to address these issues

List of Jazz Artists/Groups who were affected by issues of Diversity and/or Race and some of the issues they dealt with. The list of issues are JUST suggestions of a place to start your research, you need find much more material on the artist you choose.

Louis Armstrong– early 20th century stardom for a Black musician

Fletcher Henderson – Black swing bands vs. White Swing Bands – opportunities, acceptance, Black composers/arrangers and White Swing Bands

Benny Goodman– segregation, Black and White musicians playing together

Billie Holiday – female jazz performer, “Strange Fruit”, cabaret card, drug issues

John Coltrane – “Alabama”, how he used his music to comment on Society

Cannonball and Nat Adderley Sextet –raised awareness through their music – “Work Song”, and other songs which were inspired by African American history and traditions. Active in Civil Rights movement in the 1960’

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Final Answer



Running head: BILLIE HOLIDAY

Billie Holiday and Racial Discrimination

Billie Holiday


Billie Holiday was an African American jazz musician who was born on 7 April 1915
(Golio, 2017). She was born as Eleanor Harris; then she adopted the name Billie Holiday as her
stage name, she was born to two teenage parents, Clarence Harris and Sadie Fagan. Her parents
have never got married, and her childhood was very troubled. The lack of a stable family

background caused harm to Billie’s emotional state as she struggled to find her way up as a black
American girl who had dreams of venturing into music and making a name for herself (Golio,
2017). Her father was a very successful jazz musician who got to play with artists such as
Fletcher Henderson, and he made a name for himself in the music industry. Her mother did not
meet the same fate, however, as she ended up living with her sister and her sister’s husband and
their two children. Life was never easy for Billie’s mother, and neither was it for Billie too.
The Race Equation in the Life of Billie Holiday
In the early 1900s, being raised in a broken family was not the only problem that young
and dreamy girls such as Billie had to worry about. She was a young black girl living in
America, a country that, at the time, had zero tolerance for African Americans (Williamson,
2015). African Americans were at the time considered slaves and were denied rights and
freedoms. They were expected to serve their white masters, and they were not allowed to have
dreams beyond being a slave of the white master. On many occasions, Billie's Holiday was
discriminated against for being a black woman who dared to dream beyond slavery and for
wanting to make a better life for herself (Williamson, 2015). The most outstanding times that she
was discriminated against were during her musical career as she forged to be...

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