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"Good Morning Heartache" - Billie Holiday


First of all, this is one of the best songs to wake up to in the morning. Even if you're not heartbroken, which I sure hope you're not because that's a crap space to occupy, it still has a sort of quiet magic about it that is a wonderful way to start the day. I would implore you - if you haven't listened to much of Billie Holiday's work, do yourself a favor this weekend and revisit her catalog. She truly shines among the expanse of American music - a Black jazz legend who has been revered by generations for good reason. 


I felt like sharing some Billie Holiday in honor of the film "The United States Vs. Billie Holiday" which arrived on Hulu yesterday. The film seems to be receiving good to mixed reviews (it holds a fairly middle-of-the-road Rotten Tomatoes score by accounts of critics and audiences), but mostly Andra Day's performance as Billie Holiday is garnering attention (and a Golden Globe nom). While the movie may not fully capture the legend that was Billie Holiday, Day reportedly makes a great - and impactful - film debut in it. (Note: I'm watching the movie tonight so I can't say from my experiences.)  I'm not that familiar with Day (who was partially discovered by Stevie Wonder), but she seems to be a pretty solid artist herself, as you can hear below. Also Stevie Wonder helped discover her? Like holy crap, that's incredible: 


Billie Holiday's life was one marred by tragedy, and even if the film doesn't completely hit the mark, it's worth familiarizing yourself with her story. Aside from struggling with substances, this woman was harassed by the U.S. government - specifically narcotics forces (due to "Strange Fruit," her famous and haunting protest song about lynching). She refused to stop performing "Strange Fruit" despite the government's insistence she do so (you can imagine this pissed off the government, a Black woman singing openly about racism, just as the Civil Rights movement was picking up momentum). 

As she was on her death bed, she was arrested. You can read a better, more detailed description of that here, which is the heart of the film's story. One major takeaway, whether or not you watch or like the film, is that Billie Holiday deserves to be honored and celebrated for years to come - the way she was cruelly robbed of during her life. 

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