Bessie Smith Mamie Smith Ma Rainey
Black women stole the show when it came to singing the Blues! Black women had space to sing about any and everything. They sang about the woes of womanhood, their sexuality, and men. The work of these women alone garnered lots of attention for this genre of music as well as money for their record companies. These Blues singers were unapologetic and confidents as all Black women deserve to be. They were trendsetters, history-makers, and popstars.
On the stage, was one of the few places where Black women had privilege over Black men. They had more (creative) freedom when performing; however, this was another way of pitting Black women and men against each other. Singers, like Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, and Ma Rainey, trailblazed a path for other Black women in the music industry. Singers like Alicia Keys, Jazmine Sullivan, and Mariah Carey stand on the shoulders of the women before them. Bessie, Mamie, and Ma have transferred their power to other artists through their music and their impact. The Blues and Black women in music would not be the same without them.
Negro Spirituals as a Tool for Survival An Act of Resistance Without spirituals, enslaved people would have bottled up all their emotions and grievances and