The United States vs Billie Holiday
So, when I decided to distract my thoughts from my current battles as a black woman in a genre with men who refuse to allow your voice to be heard, I normally turn to comedy. Flipping through channel to channel, app to app, a trailer showed up about United States vs Billie Holiday on HULU. Regardless of being a Gen X baby, I loved Billie Holiday and her unique voice. I so enjoy harmonizing with her. So, HULU got the click. And boy, oh boy, I wasn’t expecting this life-boggling, heart-wrenched, tear-dropping journey.
Firstly, I want to say thank you to the director/producer (Lee Daniels), screenwriter (Susan Lori-Parks aka SLP) and to all the cast and crew who are involved in this beautiful project. I mostly want to personally say congratulations to Andra Day who recently won a Golden Globe for her performance as Billie Holiday. You all have made a very important and powerful film that I am convinced has justified Billie Holiday from the inaccurate image of her created by white supremacists who worked so hard to silence her voice. Thank you setting the record straight on who she is to the black culture.
I loved that Lee Daniels kept her story HONEST and real. For decades, her image has been tarnished because of the bigotry she went through in her life over fighting for civil rights, unknowingly. That BLACK LIVES MATTER. The United States government’s battle against Billie Holiday wasn’t over her song Strange Fruit, it was over her black excellence. They actually believed her singing Strange Fruit was the devil’s work and would cause a riot. They worked so hard to destroy her in any and every way possible. And although they believe they have succeeded at the end of her life by handcuffing her dead body to the hospital bed claiming there were drugs found in her hospital room, they didn’t win. You can walk into any Wholefoods, or just be waiting in a 5-star hotel lobby and you will hear her beautiful music everywhere. I don’t need to tell you all what happened in the movie. I DO need to encourage you to go watch it. NOW!! Know her story and make sure all of your children and children’s children know her story. That’s how Billie Holiday continues to live. Through us, her people.
Thank you, Lee Daniels and SLP for telling her long, overdue story. I saw so much of myself in her struggle with the government and her battle with THEIR fear of HER strength and talents. I can relate on so many levels so I wholeheartedly thank you for vindicating her.
Billie Holiday’s story isn’t just about the US government cases against her singing about lynching black people. It’s about their problem with black excellence especially through the mind and body of a black woman. Let that sink in.
Check out this HULU clip of Andra Day singing Strange Fruit in the United States vs Billie Holiday.