Ma Rainey was the first popular stage entertainer to incorporate
authentic blues into her song repertoire and became known as the
"Mother of the Blues".
Born Gertrude Pridgett on April 26, 1886, in Columbus, Georgia,
Ma Rainey became the first popular stage entertainer to incorporate
authentic blues into her song repertoire. She performed during
the first three decades of the 20th century and enjoyed mass popularity
during the blues craze of the 1920s.
Rainey's music has served as inspiration for such poets
as Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown.
"Went out last night with a crowd of my friends,
They must have been women, 'cause I don't like no men.
Wear my clothes just like a fan, talk to gals just like any old man
'Cause they say I do it, ain't nobody caught me, sure got to prove it on me."