Breaking Down Barriers: Famous and Prominent Queer Black Women

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Bessie Smith

It was quite a controversy for Smith to be a lesbian in her day or at her peak. There are rumors she had an affair with another female blues singer, but MadameNoire will not reveal who that singer is until our last slide. But the “Empress of the Blues” had other relationships with women and got in trouble with her second husband, Jack Gee, over her affairs. She sung about her being a lesbian explicitly in songs like “It’s Dirty But Good” in 1930.


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