Substance Abuse In Billie Holiday's Life

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Billie Holiday lived a tumultuous life as she went through many ups and downs during her childhood and into her adulthood. Billie Holiday was only eighteen years old when she was discovered singing in nightclubs and soon found great success as a jazz singer. In spite of her lack of musical training, Holiday’s distinct singing caught the attention of her audience and she became one of the greatest jazz singers of the twentieth century. However, despite the remarkable success Billie achieved, she continuously battled with substance abuse until the end of her life. Holiday may have had a tragic life, but her emotional, melancholic voice made her an imperative presence in the period of jazz. Growing up, Billie Holiday’s parents were never around and she was left to fend for herself. When Billie was only eleven she was raped by her neighbor and she later had to work at a brothel to earn an income. At such a young age, Holiday went through numerous traumatic experiences that filled…show more content…
Her relationship with Louie McKay involved physical and emotional abuse. He would assault her on places of her body that cannot be seen, especially at her ribs, so she could continue singing. Despite the repeated harm McKay inflicted upon her, Holiday did not leave him. Billie Holiday’s abusive relationships contradicted with her strong sense of justice. Besides her violent relationships, Holiday also struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction. She was repeatedly arrested for possession of drugs and when she was not using drugs she was found drinking alcohol. As a result, her voice and body began to deteriorate. Finally, Billie Holiday died at forty-four due to liver failure. Holiday’s reputation may have declined because of her past scandals, but she still remains a prominent figure in the jazz era and a significant influence on

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