Bessie Smith – Sweet Mama

Listening to the lyrics of Bessie Smith’s song ‘I Used To Be Your Sweet Mama’ I found it was very interesting because although she was singing about a cheating partner she didn’t sing the song in a sad or defeated way. She sounded very empowering and confident as she was saying that she wouldn’t take him back or allow him to continue treating her poorly.

I connected this song to the lyrics in Beyoncé’s ‘If I Were A Boy’. This song is also unique in that Beyoncé is singing it through the perspective of a boy. She is sarcastic in the lyrics, singing, “I’d put myself first, and make the rules as I go, cause I know that she’d be faithful, waiting for me to come home”. Like Bessie Smith she sings the lyrics in a very confident way. Both lyrics in the songs expose men for their wrong doing and make it very obvious that the women singing them will not be putting up with poor treatment.


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