Happy birthday to Lady Day, the most impactful American singer that ever lived. The most emotional and distinguishable voice in music, Billie Holiday was immensely popular. She was also a screaming example of how fucked up America is and exposed its mistreatment of those who come from the poorest sect of society.
While she achieved wealth and fame due to her talent, the system failed her in so many ways. A victim of assault, racism, child poverty, prostitution, domestic abuse, jail time, theft, drugs and systematic legal bullshit (such as the revoking of her ability to perform in NYC), she was still a creative force through it all...at least until the very end when the drugs and booze helped destroy her to finality.
She was a commanding performer, a songwriter, an actress. Her rendition of "Strange Fruit" (a song about a lynching) stands as one of the most haunting and affecting tunes to ever come from the American songbook. She wrote (or co-wrote) many tunes, including "God Bless The Child", "You're My Thrill", "Don't Explain" and "Lady Sings The Blues", and her performances of "Lover Man", "Crazy He Calls Me" and others are quite moving.
She met her end, in police custody in critical condition in a hospital room, most likely with drugs planted on her by authorities. Because that's how America treats black talent when the show is over.