united states vs. billie holiday
Rarely do I watch a film that makes me feel so deeply, unfortunately it wasn't the feeling I was hoping for. I am so glad that the story of her subtle yet fierce defiance in the name of protecting black bodies has finally seen the light and illuminating yet again how the FBI has been as deterimental as the KKK in many ways in attempting to silence us. Thank you Lee Daniels and Suzi-Lori Parks for that Yet as we share our pain we must also celebrate the resilence.
If you watch united states vs. holiday you walk away understanding that billie holiday was a sad junkie, who dated men who were bad for her because she needed control, she wasn't a friend you could rely on, she occassionally went to hotels with white bulldaggers, ( their words not mine) she sometimes gave tips to the musical director, she chose musicians, and her momma didnt love her. Oh, she also had sang strange fruit because she saw a lynching. You get to witness a beautiful , nuanced performance by Audra Day but what you witness on the screen was a piece of a woman, and not the badass of Billie Holiday.
You do not come away understanding that Billie Holiday is the most influential woman in Jazz, there are several great women in jazz inc. fitzgerald, vaughn and washington. That is not being said that lightly. That she slept with so many woman they nicknamed her Mr. Day, that she never sang the song the same way twice she had several versions, she composed, she wrote, she arranged. She rose from NOTHING, with no mentor, no self help books, she went from a brothel to international fame, Do you know the tenacity it takes to go from working in a brothel, to being on the stage, to negotiating with men on arrangements, to having a maid ( a white one) to having the courage to get on the stage of Carnagie Hall? You have no family, no visible support you have to find the courage from deep inside to believe your voice matters. You love Cardi B? Well then, bow down to Lady Day because she did without a reality show or social media. We talk about imposter syndrome, and now there are books, videos, podcasts and she did it ON.HER.OWN. More than 60 years after her death, her name still reigns, the word that is thrown around way too much, actually applies to her is..ICONIC. After all this time, no one sounds like Billie Holiday, no one. I don't know if people makes themselves feel better to only see the "pain" of these women, these divas, these lights that shine fast and bright but I don't care what needle you want to show in her arm. what man slapping her across the face, she is and will always be F*CKIN BILLY HOLIDAY and nothing, nothing will ever replace that. You do not get to be a supernova by accident, it takes work, it takes talent, and it takes courage and I want to see the film that honors all of that. Life is complex, its not one thing, your not all good or all bad you are amalgamtion of life and it d*mn time that women get to be seen like that. I am so sorry Ms. Lady Day you deserved so much more than that... film. #billieholdiay #legend #unitedstatesvsholiday #film #lynching #civilrights #drugs #jazz #unitedstates
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An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.