Diggin’: Willa Mae Buckner – Peter Rumpkin

inDiggin'on March 28, 2016


Willa Mae Buckner

Willa Mae Buckner

As a newbie here at Music Maker, one of my first assignments was to learn the Music Maker story by watching our documentary “Toot Blues”. As I was watching, one character in particular caught my attention – Willa Mae Buckner. I immediately recognized her as “the lady with the snakes” from photographs around the Music Maker office. What I did not know, until I watched Toot Blues, was what a fascinating and talented woman she was.


In her youth, Willa Mae traveled with an all-black tent show and performed as a blues singer, burlesque dancer, and snake woman (just to name a few). Her lyrics and musical style are both playful and risqué.  She was a woman singing, unapologetically, about female sexuality, which would have been especially bold at that time in the rural South.


I am always a fan and champion of strong women so, especially during Women’s History Month, lets take a moment to enjoy the fierce lady that was Willa Mae Buckner.


— Jessica Roy

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