A huge round of applause for Andra Day.
Best known for singing and penning inspirational tunes like “Rise Up,” the beautiful singer made her big screen acting debut in the critically acclaimed film, The United States vs. Billie Holiday. The Lee Daniels-directed flick follows the life and times of the late “Strange Fruit” jazz pioneer, who was masterfully portrayed by Day earlier this year. In two tense, heartbreaking, action-packed and inspiring hours, writers shed light on how the FBI harassed Holiday in an effort to silence her, using her drug addiction to undermine her career and reputation and throw her in jail.
In February, Day walked away with the 2021 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture (and although she didn’t win, she certainly deserved an Oscar for her breakthrough performance). In a conversation with Oprah Winfrey, Day said she believes the role came to her for healing purposes.
“That’s actually, to answer your question, why I believe maybe this role came for me — really to heal me and to shake me of this, sort of, self-sabotaging, of feeling constantly unworthy, constantly inadequate because I didn’t have the right education or I don’t feel like I’m smart enough. You know, she freed a lot of things in me,” Day said of Billie Holiday. “Just the experience of her, but it’s because she showed up. I think that’s a huge part. Billie had these feelings, I’m sure she had fears. This woman’s life was threatened every time she would get on stage and sing ‘Strange Fruit’ right? She was targeted, she was harassed, she lost her father to Jim Crow, she was raped at a young age, she was sent into a brothel by her mother. And then she was constantly abused by men. She had her fears … but she showed up.”
See the beauty speak on Billie Holiday’s strength and influence below.
To celebrate Andra Day’s talent, the fact that she’s always looking like a million bucks, and her birthday today we’ve gathered more of her most beautiful moments below. Join us in a standing ovation and tune into The United States vs. Billie Holiday on Hulu if you haven’t already.