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Oscar nominee Andra Day says Billie Holiday helped her find her worth – Deadline

Immediately after her surprise victory for Best Actress at the Golden Globes, United States vs. Billie Holiday Star Andra Day earned her first career Oscar nomination.

At Hulu The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Day transforms into an iconic jazz singer as she battles the federal government to perform her controversial but touching number “Strange Fruit.” After receiving the name for Best Leading Actress, Day told Deadline that her love for the Blues singer took the honor to another level.

“I have always loved this woman, she really helped me to own who I am as an artist. She helped me say “Okay, my voice is worth it”. God has just used it and his inheritance very powerfully in my life and to know, ”she said. “It was one of the things that killed me when people said (she) ‘ruined my life. This couldn’t be further from the truth – she’s a heroine.

“The United States against. Billie Holiday ‘: Read Suzan-Lori Parks’ Screenplay on Key Chapter in Jazz Icon’s Life

Day is the second singer-actress to receive love at the Oscars for her portrayal of the iconic Blues singer, following Diana Ross for her 1972 portrayal in Lady sings the blues. The actress, who said she was initially afraid to follow Ross’ ‘untouchable’ portrayal, said her role was not to fill the shoes of the remarkable black women who came before her, but rather to honor them. .

While many see Holiday as the “godmother of the civil rights movement,” which helps pave the way for today’s music activists, Day explained that the singer never wanted to be a leader or create ” the first protest song ”.

“She was just an activist by nature doing what was right, what was right,” she explained.

Centering Holiday’s fight against the FBI is just one example of diverting the narrative from the “lens of the white patriarchy,” the actress said. Other nominated titles highlighting too often unknown black stories include Judas and the Black Messiah and Ma Rainey’s black background. Day said it’s these types of stories that make viewers wonder what other stories haven’t been told.

“People are also realizing that their story has also been hidden from them. We never knew the truth about Billie Holiday fighting racial terror, fighting segregation. We didn’t know that because we weren’t supposed to know it, ”she said. “So now the question is… what else is hidden from us?” When you start asking this question, it’s a shit thing. “

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