First Fan: Barack and Billie

President Barack Obama’s new children’s book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, spotlights 13 American icons who exemplify various virtues. The most unlikely subject: Billie Holiday. A jazz virtuouso, for sure. But virtuous? Maybe if you consider the misery she turned into achingly beautiful songs.

Or is the President just a die-hard fan who looks beyond Billie’s faults to see her genius? If you read his pre-Oval Office memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, you know that Billie’s music was the soundtrack one evening when young Barry struggled with his identity. By her last song, he is humming the refrain and emerging from his funk, less confined by race. Billie’s music evokes “a willingness to endure,” Obama writes. “Endure and make music that wasn’t there before.”

Wonder what Billie songs are on his iPod?

One Response to “First Fan: Barack and Billie”

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