Friday, February 15, 2013

Everyday is Black History Month at Nelesc Designs: BILLIE HOLIDAY

Available at Nelesc Designs for $22.00
Here's another installment of "Everyday is Black History Month at Nelesc Designs." Today I give you Billie Holiday.

Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday was born April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was a true artist of her day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, creativity and vivacity, as many of Holiday's songs are as well known today as they were decades ago. Holiday's poignant voice is still considered to be one of the greatest jazz voices of all time. ( and

Ms. Holiday is such an inspiration to me and I love this image of her inspired by Jazz photographer William P. Gottlieb's 1947 image. 

Here, she is just belting it out, like's she's singing for her life. Her expression is an emotional mixture of strength and pain. This is quite understandable as she died an untimely death at the age of 44, losing her battle with substance abuse. Her humanity is captivating and I imagine that singing, for her, was cathartic, healing, an expressive mixture of both pain and pleasure. 

I love to sing, and for me, as well as for many others, singing has become both joyous and a battle cry. I sing with my kids and it's joyous and fun and sometimes I sing out of frustration, a tuneful scream, if you will.

Another view of Billie Holiday t-shirt at Nelesc Designs

Life is a mixture of both joy and pain and we all need a "go to" playlist to reflect on those times. I know I have one. Going to download some Billie Holiday songs now. 

Happy Black History Month!

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