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Author Carole Boston Weatherford on Conversations with Jeff Duperon

'Becoming Billie Holiday' by Carole Boston Weatherford
'Becoming Billie Holiday' by Carole Boston Weatherford

Author Carole Boston Weatherford joins Jeff to discuss her new book, Becoming Billie Holiday, a fictional verse memoir. The world knew the famous jazz singer and songwriter (1915-1959) as Billie Holiday, but her name at birth was Eleanora Fagan. Neglected by her parents, abused by a neighbor, and sent to reform school, she scrubbed marble steps, drank bootleg liquor, smoked, worked in a brothel, and then found her voice--all before leaving Baltimore

She moved to New York City just as the Harlem Renaissance gave way to the Great Depression. Luckily, Eleanora had a gift--an incredible voice. She began her singing career as a teen and by age 25, Billie Holiday had not only fronted the era's hottest bands, but recorded her signature song "Strange Fruit." Poems by Weatherford trace the singer's journey from B-girl to jazz royalty. Cinematic, sepia-toned art by Floyd Cooper completes this memoir, Weatherford's young adult debut.