Born Elinore Harris, Billie Holiday had a difficult teen and young adulthood period, which included working in brothels, both as a cleaning woman and a prostitute, and being raped. Through this difficulty, she dreamed of becoming a jazz singer. She got her initial singing break when she applied at a Harlem club that was looking for a dancer, but where she got hired as a singer. There, she met and fell in love with the suave Louis McKay. After this initial break, Billie wanted her singing career to move to the mainstream clubs in downtown Manhattan. She took a risk when she agreed to be the lead singer for the Reg Hanley Band, a primarily white group, who convinced her that she would have to make her mark in regional tours before her Manhattan dream could happen. As Billie tried to advance her career, pressures of life, including being a black woman, led to her not so secret substance abuse (especially of heroin), not so secret because of her increasingly erratic behavior, both on ...
Diana Ross IS Billie Holiday
See more »
Did You Know?
Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor appeared in Hit! (1973). See more
Pardon me, lady. I must have got you mixed up with someone who used to reside as Missus, um... what's her name?
If that's what you thought, nigger, why'd you give me them damn flowers? Why didn't you just give me some money?
Referenced in So Wrong They're Right
music and lyrics by Arthur Herzog Jr.
and Billie Holiday See more