Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday & The Power of A Protest Song

Mar 4, 2017

This week on The Local Take I speak with Gary Golio and Charlotte Riley-Webb about the children's book:

Strange Fruit Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song. The children's novel  for those age Eight - 12 shares not only the biography of the legendary Jazz singer but also her serendipitous meeting with: Abel Meeropol, Barney Joesphson and John Hammond.

In addition, Gary shares the history of how the poem Bitter Fruit written by Abel Meeropol, became the song Strange Fruit. Billie Holiday first performed the song on stage at Cafe Society a unique entertainment venue in the 1930's and 1940's where patrons of all races could enjoy quality entertainment. Gary shares why he thinks protest songs are so powerful.

Gary Golio a children's therapist and musician has written several novels about iconic musicians including Jimi the story of Jimi Hendriz and When Bob Met Woody the story of a young Bob Dylan.  He explains that there is a power in art and music to change minds.

We continue our conversation about the book by speaking with Charlotte Riley-Webb the award winning illustrator about her inspiration. She mentions initial reluctance and then feeling an obligation to collaborate with Golio on the book. She shares with us her thoughts on creating the images in a way that children could receive the story without being horrified.

Riley-Webb also shares with us how her career as an artist began in high school and with support of her parents she graduated from art school in Cleveland. She is preparing for an exhibit at the Zucot Gallery in fall of 2017.

For more information about Strange Fruit Billie Holiday the Power of a Protest Song

For more information about Gary Golio

For more information about Charlotte Riley-Webb

For more information on Billie Holiday

For more information on Abel Meeropol