‘Women Who Rock’: Bessie Smith

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Bessie Smith (1894-1937) was dubbed the “Empress of the Blues” by way of her forceful vocal delivery and soulful phrasing of the Blues.

Smith was a multi-talented entertainer who danced, acted and performed comedy routines.

As the highest-paid black performer of her time, Smith reached a level of success that many believe had not been achieved before her.

Artifacts from Bessie Smith’s life are featured in the “Suffragettes to Juke-Joint Mamas: The Foremothers/Roots of Rock” section in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power.” The groundbreaking exhibit is open until February 26, 2012.

Click HERE to read more about Bessie Smith and the other women being honored.

(Information provided by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.)

*Watch video below to see Bessie Smith perform “St. Louis Blues.”

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