In Hulu’s The United State vs. Billie Vacation, Day transforms into the enduring jazz singer as she battles in opposition to the federal authorities to carry out her controversial, but shifting quantity “Strange Fruit.” Upon receiving the perfect lead actress nom, Day informed Deadline that her love for the blues singer introduced the distinction to a different degree.
“I always loved this woman, she really helped me own who I am as an artist. She helped me to say ‘OK, my voice is worthy.’ God has just used her and her legacy very powerfully in my life and to know,” she mentioned. “It was one of the things that would kill me when people would say [she] ‘wasted life.’ This couldn’t be further from the truth – she’s a hero.”
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Day is the second singer-actress to obtain Oscar love for her portrayal of the enduring singer, following Diana Ross for her 1972 depiction in Woman Sings the Blues. The actress, who mentioned she initially was scared to comply with Ross’ “untouchable” portrayal, mentioned that her position wasn’t about filling the footwear of the exceptional Black girls who got here earlier than her, however as a substitute about honoring them.
Whereas many see Vacation because the “godmother of the civil rights movement,” who assist set the trail for right this moment’s music activists, Day defined that the singer by no means got down to be a pacesetter or create “the first protest song.”
“She was just an activist by nature by doing what was right, what was fair,” she defined.
Centering Vacation’s battle in opposition to the FBI is only one instance of shifting the narrative away from the “lens of the white patriarchy,” the actress mentioned. Among the many nominated different titles highlighting Black tales which have too usually gone untold embrace Judas and the Black Messiah and Ma Rainey’s Black Backside. Day mentioned it’s these sorts of tales that urge viewers to query what different histories have stayed untold.
“People are also realizing that their history was also kept from them,” she mentioned. “We never knew the truth about Billie Holiday fighting against racial terror, fighting against segregation. We didn’t know this because we weren’t supposed to know. So now the question is … what else is kept from us? When you start to ask that question, it’s a f*cking lot.”