Film and TV

The United States vs Billie Holiday: release date, how to stream and more

Jonny Yates February 26, 2021
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Billie Holiday biopic

Andra Day stars as Billie Holiday in the new biopic, which will touch on her romance with actress Tallulah Bankhead. (YouTube)

The United States vs Billie Holiday is the highly-anticipated biopic based on the life of the iconic, openly bisexual jazz singer.

It’s been confirmed that the Golden Globe-nominated film will be released digitally on 26 February on streaming platform Hulu in the US and Sky Cinema and NowTV in the UK.

The film will focus on the untold story of Holiday’s fight with the FBI who were threatened by her powerful song “Strange Fruit”, which famously confronts the lynchings and killings of Black people in the United States.

The film’s director Lee Daniels, who is gay, said: “When you think of Billie Holiday, you think of this brilliant tortured jazz singer who happened to have been a drug addict. I didn’t know that she kicked off the civil rights movement.

“Before there was a civil rights movement, there was Billie Holiday and ‘Strange Fruit’. The government saw that song as a threat and she was a target. That’s history and they keep it from us.”

Fans are also hoping that Holiday’s queerness will be explored in the film as she was famously bisexual, having both male and female lovers throughout her life. This includes the actress Tallulah Bankhead who is played by Natasha Lyonne in the film and depicted in the trailer visiting a jewellery store alongside Holliday.

The film was recently nominated for two Golden Globe Awards with Andra Day picking up a nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a drama film while the song “Tigress & Tweed” received a Best Original Song nod.

The winners will be revealed at virtual ceremony hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler with Schitt’s Creek, Promising Young Woman, Hamilton, Viola Davis for her role as bisexual blues singer Ma Rainey, Jodie Foster and Sarah Paulson among the nominees.

It also saw James Corden receive a nomination for his critically-panned role as a gay actor in queer Netflix musical The Prom. While his co-stars including Meryl Streep, Andrew Rannells, Ariana DeBose and Jo Ellen Pellman were all snubbed.

However in some good news three women appear in the Best Director category for the first time ever with Regina King, Emerald Fennell and Chloé Zhao becoming the sixth, seventh and eighth women in history to receive a nomination in that category.

The United States vs Billie Holiday will be available to stream on Hulu from 26 February in the US and Sky Cinema and NowTV in the UK.

To sign up to Hulu and find out more go to UK viewers can watch it for free as part of a Sky Cinema package or via the NowTV Cinema Pass.

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Related topics: Billie Holiday, Lee Daniels, LGBT movies

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