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happy 100th birthday, ella fitzgerald // april 25, 1917 - june 15, 1996 // “just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong”

“The best way to start any musical evening is with [Ella]. It don’t get better than this.” Frank Sinatra

“Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all.” Bing Crosby

“Ella’s amazing! My daughter says that every time she makes a mistake, it becomes a hit record.” Lucille Ball

“It is so much fun to sing with Ella. It is so nice to sing with someone who does more than make a pretty noise.” Jo Stafford

“If you want to learn how to sing, listen to Ella Fitzgerald.” Vincent Minnelli

“The one radio voice that I listened to above others belonged to Ella Fitzgerald. There was a quality to her voice that fascinated me, and I’d sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words.” Doris Day

Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe at Tiffany Club 1954

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt … she personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.“ Ella Fitzgerald  

Today is the 100th birthday of jazz and pop singer Ella Fitzgerald, who’d started out winning Harlem talent shows as a teenager. She had her first hits with Chick Webb’s big band before going out on her own in the 1940s. The composer songbooks she recorded for Verve starting in the mid-50s are definitive recordings of vocal standards. Fitzgerald toured the world for decades, and died in 1996. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Fitzgerald at her best is as good as it gets. Listen.

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Black Heritage Stamps with Ella Fitzgerald, Hattie McDaniel, Madam C.J. Walker, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Bessie Coleman, Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper, Marian Anderson, Shirley Chisholm.

“i think i’m falling for you” : a playlist for wlw who are in love with their friend

falling for you - the 1975 // just like heaven - the cure // can’t help falling in love with you - haley reinhart // night and day - ella fitzgerald // the nearness of you - norah jones // there she goes - sixpence none the richer // sleepover - hayley kiyoko // accidentally in love - the crows // there’s too much love - belle and Sebastian // my girl - the temptations // kiss me - sixpence none the richer // friends - ed sheeran

(listen here)

sweet dreams

Stars shining bright above you ~

Night breezes seem to whisper, “I love you”…~
Birds singin’ in the sycamore tree ~
Dream a little dream of me ~

Say “nighty-night” and ~ kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me , you’ll miss me…
While I’m alone and blue as can be -
Dream a little dream ~ of me ~

My parents were (are) rather prejudiced when it comes to anyone different from them. My mom’s racist attitude lessened (a bit) after she read Condoleezza Rice’s biography in order to help my brother with a school project. She’d even go out of her way to bring up great things about Rice out of the blue, whenever she remembered things. My dad was very anti gay marriage. That is, until he watched a Liberace documentary and heard something along the lines of “I wish I could have been a dad; I think I would’ve been a good dad”. Ever since then his stance has changed dramatically. 

People love learning about people they admire. My dad wasn’t sympathetic to the LGBT community but he loved Liberace and George Michael’s music, and it took sympathizing with one of them to open his mind.

My point is this: If you have prejudiced family members, find out which people (who are different from them) they actually admire (like Michael Jordan, Elton John, Ella Fitzgerald, etc) and sit down with them and watch their documentaries. Or give their biographies as gifts for holidays. Give them something they want to read/watch, that you know they’ll actually enjoy. Those who are the most judgmental tend to make exceptions to their rules because deep down their rules are wrong (but they don’t realize it). “I don’t like gays but Liberace is really cool” or “I don’t like Asian people but Jackie Chan is amazing!” or “I don’t respect women but Dolly Parton is my favorite musician”. 

When you find that weakness in their argument, in their prejudice, you must use it to everyone’s advantage and hit them with a biography! I’m serious. See what kind of sorcery this technique yields for you and let us know what happens.