Billie Holiday Essay

Billie Holiday Essay

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Billie Holiday, whose real name is Eleanora Gough, was born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in 1915. She grew up mostly in Baltimore and always loved jazz. Billie was born to very young parents. Her mother was thirteen when she was born and her father just fifteen. (www.numberonestars.com, 2010)
Her father made his living as a jazz musician and later he left Billie’s mother. Billie was raised by her mother and grandparents. Billie was not a happy child and eventually left school at an early age. It was rumored that she became a prostitute like her mother. (www.numberonestars.com, 2010)
Her relationship with her father was not a loving one. Clarence Holiday was hardly ever around. Sometimes Billie would blackmail him for money by threatening to tell his new girlfriend that she was his daughter. (www.numberonestars.com, 2010)
Later, while living in Harlem and singing in clubs Billie was discovered by John Hammond. She later recorded the song “Your Mother’s Son-In-Law” around 1933. She also sang at the Apollo theater in 1934 and first received acknowledgement as a great live performer. At the time Bobby Henderson was her then lover and played the piano during her performance. Billie went on to perform in other clubs in Manhattan. (www.numberonestars.com, 2010)
Later in her career Billie Holiday became one of the first black performers to work with white performers of her time. She was still subjected to the racial barriers of her time like waiting in a dark room until it was time for her to perform and using the back entrances to perform. Billie was quoted once for having been said, “I’ve lived songs like that.” (www.numberonestars.com, 2010)
Billie had a lot of soul and gut wrenching emotion in both her ...


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...is will lead her to open up about buried hurt and anger. I think that much of her anger is directed at her father because he abandoned her and later was afraid to acknowledge her as his daughter to girlfriends.
Then I would suggest both drug and alcohol rehabilitation with therapy that would discuss the cause of each. I would also throw in some education on the affects of long term drug and alcohol abuse. It would be my hope that as therapy and treatment continued Billie’s father would be willing to sit down in a session with her that would allow her to confront him. Based on his continued failure of her as a father I don’t see that happening and therefore little hope that Billie’s road to recovery will be successful. Also, I feel that Billie would benefit from the use of anti-depressants to deal with the emotions and depression related to childhood trauma.

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