6. What did it mean to you to help bring this story to life?
You know, there have only been a few biopics made about Black individuals and our Black heroes in our history — there’s 1,000 gajillion more to tell — but we’ve only told a couple so far. While reading this script, I was like, “Wow, this will live on to be like a Ray or Lady Sings the Blues, or What’s Love Got to Do with It.” I just felt so grateful throughout the process. It was just fun to be lost in that time. We filmed in Montreal, and Montreal is very vintage. It’s very weird in a beautiful way. That city is etched in stone or lost in time, if you will, in a really beautiful way. So, it was very dreamy and just a really beautiful process. It was just so much fun, because everyone was on board, that was another huge thing. Everyone was on board and dedicated, from the top of the call sheet to the bottom.
7. I love hearing about people forming natural connections. Did you learn anything new about Billie Holiday while working on the set?
Yeah! I didn’t know about all that activism. I mean, growing up, we knew they told us what “Strange Fruit” was about, but I didn’t know that that was one of the first protest songs. But this is the thing that’s interesting, in history, they’re going to tell you what they want you to know and hide what they don’t, right? So, what I was so tripped out about, even in reading the script, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I had no idea she was such an activist and so selfless.”
8. Did learning those things make you discover new things about yourself?
I’m aware that creative art is my form of ministry, my form of activism, my gifts, and with that comes great responsibility. We all have gifts, and I encourage everyone to take the time to tap in and discover what their many gifts are. I think when you tap into that, that’s your true activism. Billie Holiday used her phenomenal voice to do more than what people think. We just thought she was this wild, fancy, free woman who could sing down and had a drug addiction, but no, it was way more than that. Way more.