This week we saw The Devil’s Music, a play at the Warehouse Theatre in Winnipeg about the famous 1920’s songstress Bessie Smith. I learned some interesting things about the Grammy Award winner.
1. She was born in abject poverty in Tennessee in 1892, but was so beloved when she died that some ten thousand people walked by her coffin to pay tribute to her.
2. 1960’s rock star Janis Joplin once told friends she felt like she was Bessie Smith reincarnated. It was Joplin who saw to it that a headstone was provided for Bessie Smith’s grave 35 years after she was killed in a 1937 car accident. Joplin chose an epitaph that named Smith- The Greatest Blues Singer in the World.
3. During an outdoor performance in North Carolina, the Ku Klux Klan surrounded Bessie’s tent. She confronted them angrily…
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