This is an exploration into the legacies of Black women who disappeared from their respective scene and seemingly from present-day narratives. They deserve to be known and remembered. 

“Most people are planted in someone else's soil, which means they're a carbon copy. I say to them, uproot yourself. Get into your own soil.” -Jackie Shane

Jackie Shane is a Black trans woman soul singer born in the American South in 1940. She was active in the Black music scene including the Chitlin Circuit until the 1960s when she fled to Toronto to escape Jim Crow. In Toronto she continued to make music but in the early 1970s, she quit music and disappeared from public eye. In 2010, Elaine Banks made a documentary called “I Got Mine: The Story of Jackie Shane.” Jackie Shane died on February 21, 2019. 

Betty Davis is a Black woman funk singer born in North Carolina in 1945. She was very expressive of her sexuality in her music and because of this, some of her shows were boycotted. Her music wasn’t often played on the radio due to pressure from religious groups and the NAACP. Since Davis and her music were so controversial, she was unable to secure conventional success. Davis recalls, “Three albums of hard funk. I put everything there. But doors in the industry kept closing. Always white men behind desks telling me to change—change my look, change my sound . . . I needed to ‘fit in,’ or else no contract . . . I learned that stars starve in silence.” In the early 80s, she disappeared from the music scene and never returned.

She’s still alive and there’s a documentary on her called “Betty Davis - Betty: They Say I’m Different” 

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