What if the most important story in your life was not your own? Billie Holiday, one of the greatest voices of all time, was always controversial — a proud black woman who preferred white audiences, an exploited artist and a violent drug addict, a loyal friend and a vindictive lover, a blues singer who didn’t sing the blues, and when she sang the seminal protest song Strange Fruit, an enemy of the state.
Her enigmatic accounts of her own life were a mix of half truths and free-form improvisations. Then, in 1971, journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl set out to write the definitive biography of Billie. Over 8 years, she tracked down and tape-recorded over 200 hours of interviews with the extraordinary characters that populated the iconic singer’s short, tumultuous life.
“Erskine’s film works on every level: it could just as usefully teach you the basics about Holiday, or give serious fans something to pore over more than once.” Daily Telegraph
”[T]he chance to hear that voice in a film that contextualises everything she went through is, ultimately, what makes this a valuable endeavour and worth seeking out.” Scotsman