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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: BESSIE SMITH – ‘ST LOUIS BLUES’

September 17, 2018

Known as the Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith was one of the most popular singers of the Jazz Age and her influence is still keenly felt to this very day.

Her themes of poverty, racial conflict and female sexuality were groundbreaking and challenging, though the very people oppressing her dismissed them on grounds of taste.

It’s sad how some things never change.

This clip is taken from her only film appearance, 1929’s ‘St Louis Blues’ and was shot in Astoria, Queens, NYC with backing from the Hall Johnson Choir. At almost years 90 old, this is as pertinent now as it was then.

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