THE UNITED STATES VS BILLIE HOLIDAY

January 26, 2021
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The legendary Billie Holiday, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time, spent much of her career being adored by fans across the world, all while the Federal Department of Narcotics targeted her with an undercover sting operation led by a black Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair. Inspired by her life story, THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY intimately examines her struggles with addiction, fame, and heartbreak..

Originally a poem called Bitter Fruit, it was written by the Jewish school teacher Abel Meeropol under the pseudonym Lewis Allen in response to lynching in US southern states. “I wrote Strange Fruit because I hate lynching, and I hate injustice, and I hate the people who perpetuate it,” Meeropol said in 1971.

Holiday died of cirrhosis on July 17, 1959 at the young age of 44. She won four Grammy Awards, all of them posthumously, for Best Historical Album. She was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973. Lady Sings the Blues, a film about her life, starring Diana Ross, was released in 1972.

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