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How Much Do You Know About Bessie Smith?

by BUST Magazine

Known all over the world as “The Empress of the Blues,” singer Bessie Smith made an indelible impression on American music in the 1920s and ’30s. Think you know what made Smith so legit? Then take the quiz!

There is some debate over whether Bessie was born in 1892 or 1894 in _________.

a. New Orleans, LA

b. Chattanooga, TN

c. Reno, NV

d. Atlanta, GA

By the time she was nine, Bessie’s_____ had died.

a. mother and father

b. mother and brother

c. father and brother

d. mother, father, and brother

Around 1913, Bessie began developing her act with help from what blues legend?

a. Alberta Hunter

b. Ethel Waters

c. Ma Rainey

d.Billie Holiday

Bessie was only in her early 40s when she died as the result of _____.

a. a car accident

b. a heroin overdose

c. acute alcohol poisoning

d. a heart attack

Complete the following Bessie Quote:  “I ain’t _____, but I’m somebody’s angel child.”

a. rich

b.good lookin’

c. easy goin’

d.a virgin

Answer Key: 1.b, 2.d, 3.c, 4.a, 5.b

Quiz By: Emily Rems
Photo: Library of Congres; Carl Van Vechten 


This quiz originally appeared in the December/January print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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