The United States vs Billie Holiday review – Andra Day's film all the way

The United States vs Billie Holiday review – Andra Day's film all the way
As the blues singer, Day is magnetic in Lee Daniels’s often chaotic biopic, built around a speculative romance between Holiday and a government agent

“It was called ‘the United States of America versus Billie Holiday,’” wrote the jazz legend in her 1956 autobiography, “and that’s just the way it felt.” Holiday’s 1947 conviction, when she was sentenced to a year and a day for possession of narcotics, was just one chapter in a sustained campaign against the singer, whose performances of Abel Meeropol’s anguished, anti-lynching ballad Strange Fruit had become a lightning rod for civil rights awareness and activism.

Holiday’s steadfast refusal to stop singing that song was perhaps the greatest indication of her indomitable spirit, forged in the fires of a tough-as-nails upbringing that saw her survive horrific childhood abuse to become a superstar in an age of often deadly racial and sexual prejudice. Yet in
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