The music that defined the 1920s was jazz, especially the songs known as blues.
African American women were some of the top blues singers, with numbers such as “Crazy Blues” by Mamie Smith and “Down-Hearted Blues” by Bessie Smith, who was called the Empress of the Blues.
In their songs these women expressed their feelings about almost every aspect of their lives.
There were blues about floods and sickness and death, about loneliness and love gone wrong, but there were also blues about happy times and having fun.
There were “Money Blues” and “Bedbug Blues” and “Toothache Blues,” but there were also defiant blues, with titles like “Don’t Mess with Me” and “I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle.”