Billie Holiday: jazz, politics and scandals


CRITICAL – With Billie Holiday, a matter of state , director Lee Daniels portrays the singer as a pioneer in the public defense of the African-American community.

“Black bodies sway in the southern breeze / A strange fruit hangs from the poplars.” It was because of the song from which these spine-chilling lines are taken that Billie Holiday became a target for the US government. Interpreting Strange Fruit, which recounted the atrocious reality of the lynchings of African-American citizens, the singer had become the number one public enemy of the FBI, in particular the zealous agent Harry Anslinger, head of the narcotics bureau. When the American dream takes on the air of a nightmare.

Billie Holiday (1915-1959) has long been considered the greatest jazz performer in history. His chaotic life offers inexhaustible material for cinema. However, it had so far been the subject of only one biopic. Made in 1972, with Diana Ross in the title role, Lady Sings the Blues did not date. Almost fifty years later, director Lee Daniels also calls on a singer rather than an actress.

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