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Its a Hard Knock Life Bessie Smith the greatest and most significant blues singer of the 1920s paid her dues and persevered the suffering of desertion infidelity discrimination and hard-drinking street life Bessie began the words of her song early in her life Bessies early childhood was plagued by desertion poverty and discrimination By the age of nine both her parents and at least two of her brothers had passed away After being orphaned her sister Viola became Bessies principal caregiver and Bessie began her struggle against poverty by joining a traveling vaudeville show as a blues singer Bessies personal suffering gave her lyrics to many of her songs such as Taint Nobodys Bizness If I Do Gin House Blues Me and My Gin and Nobody Knows You When Youre Down and Out Her songs not only depict her personal suffering but they also tell much about the black culture in the 1920s Bessies ability to endure the obstacles that a black female singer faced in an indifferent and segregated world won her the admiration of her people and the title of Empress of the Blues Bessie Smith did not sing the blues to get the blues she sang the blues as a way to remove her feeling of the blues and to persevere Although Bessie Smith was one of the greatest musical artists of the 1920s by the 1930s and her career began to come to an end Her heavy drinking began to take its toll and affected her career Also the publics musical tastes were shifting and live performances gave way to talking picture shows Bessie was planning a comeback in the early 1930s when her life was tragically cut short in an automobile accident On September 26 1937 Bessie Smith and her lover Richard Morgan were driving in Mississippi when their car rear-ended a truck Bessie suffered severe injuries her left arm was severed and her ribs were crushed It is
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