Throwback. T’Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness: Queer Blues Divas of the 1920s.

Gladys Bentley
(Blues Diva Gladys Bentley)

This short documentary, presented by Frameline Media, takes a look at some of the lesser known pioneers of African-American music, queer women.

T’Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness exposes the triply oppressed (black, female, queer) pioneers of blues through interviews with cultural historians, vintage photos, footage, and recordings, all narrated by Jewelle Gomez. With lavish costumes and sexually suggestive lyrics, bisexual and lesbian singers such as Ma Rainey (got arrested for indecency at an all-girl party—while married to a man) and Gladys Bentley (a “bulldagger” in full tuxedo) were regularly shunned by the church and society for their rough and tumble ways.