Blues was not “slave music [since] . . . Blues musicians, roaming from town to town with guitar[s] . . . could not have existed prior to Emancipation because our people did not enjoy freedom of movement during slavery” (ya Salaam, 1995, p. 30). Therefore, the Blues was a musical genre of people who were prepared for and headed toward liberation.
The Blues women were the sirens of freedom, only reachable after death, according to the spiritualists, whose music remained in the realm of religion. Blues music, labeled by religionists as Devil’s Music, “is a black cultural art form, blues is a ‘living archive,’ a form of ‘recollection’ that provides a ‘coded history of black injury,’ resulting from historically entrenched power relations.”
Vaccinated with a credit card in hand, I ventured to Spain and Switzerland in search of the cover stories for our two publications musicwomanarchive.com/magazines. I got several stories and wonderful photographs. The downside with traveling was COVID-19. Even with proof of vaccination, each country – Spain, Switzerland, and the USA had different requirements to enter the country. The train ride between Barcelona and Madrid was comfortable enough. However, the train car for the first leg was a long walk from the escalator. You have to read your ticket to know where you are sitting in Spain, whereas, in Switzerland, you sit in 1st or 2nd class wherever you wish. Spain was hot and air-conditioning is not the norm. Discomfort was inevitable because the Airbnb’s were not as comfortable to sleep in. Four of the five beds were uncomfortable. The bathrooms were tight with slippery tubs and no handrails to hold on to, which is not very safe for mature travelers.
In Spain, the menus are about the same most places. However the cost of a meal varies, sometimes widely. There are several Chinese, Japanese, and Thai Restaurants to be found. Parking is tight and can be expensive the closer you are to the center of the city. Switzerland is expensive. The price of a train ride for two to three hours is CH148 ($162) for 2nd Class. A taxi is EU20 ($23) – 40 ($43), depending on where you catch it. A salad, sandwich, and beverage can cost upwards of $30.
In 1999, a well-connected politician called me on the phone, early one morning, instructing me to write down a fax number, starting with area code 202 for Washington, D.C. I knew it was important.
She asked me if I had a company and an Employee Identification Number (EIN) or tax ID number. I said I did. She said, “Write a blues about the 2000 census. Fax it with an invoice for $2,499 on your letterhead to the number I gave you.
One hour later, I sent the CENSUS BLUES to the U.S. Census Bureau to the attention of the person connected to my politician friend. I got paid because I could compose music and I had a corporate EIN.
One of the first documents I give my Speech Communication students is a handout entitled HOW TO START A BUSINESS.
How to start a business
Choose Your Business Name, Inc. (or LLC) and decide if you will be: (30 minutes)
Product or Service (for profit) or Mission Statement (non-profit)
I was in business for two years before I got that call. My company was not making much money. If I got a check for singing, I put it in my business account. I paid the corporate tax and filed a tax return as a sole proprietor most years. My company grew because of the music I recorded and books I published. I got substantial orders from school principals for one or more of my books. In 2007, I incorporated my non-profit organization and became a lecturer, presenter, and producer of several programs. After releasing my two personal CDs in 1995 and 2005, I produced eight compilation CDs of music from members of http://wijsf.org
In 2019, we published the first issue of Musicwoman Magazine. In 2020, we published the second issue and the first issue of Musicman Magazine. In 2021, We published both magazines, individually, and a flip book of both magazines.
There is no doubt in my mind that having a business has been beneficial to me and our 380 members!
My response to Andromeda Turre who asked me what it means to be a woman in jazz.
Being a woman in jazz is the crux of my existence. 70 years ago, I sang Somebody Loves Me, onstage. The footlights mesmerized me. But the music captured my heart. In my later years, promoting women musicians, globally, is my mission for Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc. Visit us at www.wijsf.org
You work all your life to fulfill your purpose. You put in hours to learn your craft, instrument, or discipline. You grow older and retire from your profession, and you wonder, “Who really cares?”
Then, you meet a group of women who recognize your accomplishments. That makes it all worth it. The group of women who hold me in high esteem, and I them, is the National League of American Pen Women. I was inducted into the Boca Raton, Florida, branch by Sheila Firestone.
I am honored and humbled by the appreciation shown to me by these talented authors, artists, and musicians.
Then, in 2020, Charlene Farrington, Director of Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, chose to exhibit my collection of jazz artwork from September through February 2021. Ah, in the middle of a pandemic, there is a slice of light!
See some of the art and my story about the art collection at these links: