GLADYS BENTLEY – The World’s Greatest Sepia Piano Artist!
In the 1920s Harlem was an open and accepting place for gays and lesbians. African-American historian Henry Louis Gates has described the Harlem Renaissance as being “surely as gay as it was black, not that it was exclusively either of these.” Black gays and lesbians, described in Harlem vernacular as being “in the life,” provided entertainment in the form of private parties, sometimes fund raisers, and sometimes private erotic events. In addition to the clubs of Harlem, private rent parties became a place where gays and lesbians could dance and socialize without fear of being arrested. Rent parties were private parties that people threw in their apartments to raise rent. Rent parties became places for gays and lesbians to mingle in relative safety.
Enter Gladys Bentley. Born in 1907 the Philadelphia native left home at 16 for New York. For Gladys, her lesbianism made her need to strike out on her own all the more urgent. As she would recall many years later in an Ebony Magazine Article, "It seems I was born different. At least, I always thought so....From the time I can remember anything ,even as I was toddling , I never wanted a man to touch me...Soon I began to feel more comfortable in boys clothes than in dresses".
She began her career singing and playing piano at rent parties and the legendary speakeasies of "Jungle Alley" at 133 between Lenox and Seventh Avenue. She appeared at Harry Hansberry's "Clam House" on 133rd Street, one of New York City's most notorious gay speakeasies, in the 1920s, and headlined in the early thirties at Harlem's Ubangi Club, where she was backed up by a chorus line of drag queens. She attracted gay, straight, black and white audiences.
What I love about her the most is she was a BUTCH lesbian. Bentley dressed in her trademark tuxedo and top hat. She flaunted her sexual orientation and reputation as a 'bulldagger' or butch lesbian. She openly flirted with women in the audience. She was a 250 pound woman dressed in men's clothes (including a signature tuxedo and top hat), who played piano and sang her own raunchy lyrics to popular tunes of the day in a deep, growling voice while flirting outrageously with women in the audience.
Starting in 1928 (at age 21) she began a recording career that spanned 2 decades. 8 recordings for the OKeh recording company were followed by a side with the Washboard Serenader’s on the Victor label. Although on her recordings she did not dare have lesbian lyrics, she certainly played up this image in the clubs and in public. She married a white woman from NJ and used her fortune to provide them with an apartment on Park Avenue complete with servants and drivers.
In the 1930s the repeal of Prohibition quickly eroded the prominence of Harlem speakeasies. Furthermore, the Great Depression seems to have ended much of the "anything goes" spirit of tolerance that had pervaded in the 1920s. By 1937 the glory days of Jungle Alley were very much a thing of the past. Bentley (now aged 30) moved to Los Angeles to live with her mother in a small California bungalow. She was able to maintain some success, particularly during World War 2 when many homosexual bars proliferated on the west coast. Once again , Bentley carved out a niche for herself in this subculture and environment. Many lesbian women came to see her shows at "Joquins' El Rancho" in Los Angeles and "Monas" in San Francisco, although on occasion she did have legal trouble for performing in her signature male attire.
In the 1950s McCarthyism swept the United States and it was no longer safe to be an "out and proud" butch lesbian bulldagger. Out of desperate fear for her own survival (particularly with an ageing mother to support) Gladys Bentley started wearing dresses, and sanitizing her act. In 1950, Bentley wrote a desperate, largely fabricated article for Ebony entitled "I am Woman Again" in which she claimed to have cured her lesbianism via female hormone treatments. Bentley became an active and devoted member of "The Temple of Love in Christ, Inc". She was about to become an ordained minister in the church when she died of a flu epidemic in 1960 at the age of 52.
These desperate attempts to survive do not diminish her previous accomplishments. For many years, on a daily basis, she took risks that would not be common until the Stonewall era. In the last two decades, Rosetta Records has re-issued some of Ms. Bentley’s songs as part of various "Women in Jazz" compilations.
This is a great New York Times article about the way many Afghan girls and their mothers deal with social pressures. Women are pressured to have boys, not girls, and girls are treated poorly. To cope, some mothers choose to pass their little girl off as a little boy. Outside their home, these girls grow up as boys.
I found it fascinating and you should definitely take a look.
I've got the baddest 9th grade crush on Kanye's fine ass girlfriend Amber Rose, and apparently chick was involved with women before Yeezy. She openly acknowledges having exclusive monogamous relationships with one or the other. Not at the same time.
My favorite quote from her is:
"I love to be on my back, so I can look into my man's eyes while he's stroking me"
Shout out to MTO for reporting this professionally and without conjecture
Congratulations, she's a stud.
Well I'd do anything for a blonde dyke
And she'll do anything for the limelight
And we'll do anything when the time's right
Ugh...baby, you're makin' it (harder, better, faster, stronger)
Home: Commerce, CA
Birthday: July 22, 1985
Weight Class: Light Welterweight/132 lb/60 kg
Coach's Name: Roberto Luna
Club Name: Commerce Boxing Club
Began Boxing: 2003
Occupation: Personal trainer
Career Highlight: Winning National Golden Gloves
Who has been your biggest influence and why: My trainer. He motivates me to improve myself, both inside & outside of the ring.
How did you get involved in boxing: I was overweight and was looking for a way to get into shape.
What is your greatest strength in the ring: Work ethic and metnal fortitude.
Did you ever play any other sports: Softball
What do you love most about boxing: The discipline that is involved and the one-on-one competition.
What are your goals in and out of the ring: To represent the USA in the Olympics
What is your favorite TV show: Misadventures of Flapjack
What are your hobbies outside of boxing: Movies, surfing, music, reading
What is something interesting about you that most people don't know: I have a weakness for pork products.
Patricia "Cacahuate (Peanut)" Manuel is a featherweight professional boxer fighting out of the famed Commerce Boxing Club. The Commerce Boxing Club has produced numerous national amateur champions including two Olympic boxers. Manuel herself boasts four national titles consisting of two National Golden Gloves Champion, Ringside World Champion, and National PAL Champion.
On June 12th, Patricia Manuel won the 2009 National USA Championships and became a member of the USA Boxing Team along with gaining the number 1 ranking in the nation.
"Sex and the City" actress Cynthia Nixon has opened up about her six-year relationship with Christine Marinoni in an interview with The Advocate in which she describes her fiancée as "a short man with boobs."
Nixon, who played lawyer Miranda Hobbs in the iconic HBO series and movie, is the cover girl on The Advocate's summer issue. In a lengthy interview with Matthew Breen, she talks about coming out in the glare of the spotlight, living in a two-mother family and going topless on screen.
You can call me… jay or johnathan
I identify as… a person that is generally confused… in my mind i’m a boi trapped in a female’s body. in life i’m just different: that girl that dresses in boy clothes and unsuccessfully tries to bind her chest. i’m gay and me and i hate labels.
As far as third-person pronouns go, … i love it when people use male pronouns… and call me johnathan – when they call me “janell” i’m like, who is that person? female pronouns make me uncomfortable…
I’m attracted to… im attracted to females… genderqueers… um i don’t really have any feelings towards biological males… and i haven’t had that much experience in other people… i love everyone that loves me!
When people talk about me, I want them to… understand that i am sensitive. i may seem crazy, stupid, and weird on the outside, but i’m really just a person. a creative soul trapped in a body.
I want people to understand… that you should love the inside first. the outside is just like clothing. it changes but the soul remains the same. people are just people and sometimes they don’t fit into the social binary that the world is consumed with…
i am 16, currently a senior in high school. i’m a writer and currently have a blog and vlog that i don’t really update. you can find me on facebook (”jay banks”) and on blogger: pandab-g.blogspot.com. search johnathan1330 on youtube and you might find me.
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