Billie Holiday’s fame in the ’30s and ’40s threatened the very fabric of racist white America. But it was her popular recording of “Strange Fruit”, a song protesting the lynching of Black people, that officially made Holiday an enemy of the country. In an effort to discredit and silence her, the Federal Department of Narcotics targeted Holiday relentlessly, knowing she’d had a history of drug abuse.
That’s the haunting premise of The United States vs. Billie Holiday, a new Hulu biopic from director Lee Daniels (Precious) written by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks. The legendary jazz singer is played by real-life Grammy nominee Andra Day, who embodies Holiday’s brazen outspokenness and magnetism in equal measure, as seen in today’s newly released first trailer.
“You think I’m gonna stop singing that song?” Day as Holiday asks in the clip, when confronted about the danger of continuously performing “Strange Fruit”. “Your grandkids will be singing ‘Strange Fruit,'” she replies, in a true mic drop for the ages.
Watch the trailer down below. The United States vs. Billie Holiday streams on Hulu beginning February 26th. The film also features Natasha Lyonne, Trevante Rhodes, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Garret Hedlund, and Miss Lawrence, among others.