Andra Day on power of music and making history playing Billie Holiday

Day is the second Black woman to win a Golden Globe for best actress since Whoopi Goldberg won in 1986. Day speaks about the role of music in social change, her favorite Holiday song and more.
5:29 | 04/07/21

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Transcript for Andra Day on power of music and making history playing Billie Holiday
Welcome back. Andra day enchants music fans with her voice nd her soul. But it's her onscreen portrayal of music legend and civil rights activist Billie holiday that is winning critics over. Here's ABC news anchor linsey Davis. there ain't nothing' I can't do or nothing' I can't say Let's start with the Oscar nomination. Congratulations. Thank you. Thank you so much. But I'm going to do just as I want to anyway it feels actually surreal a little bit. And the golden globe goes to Andra day. So you've already won the golden globe, only the second black woman to win for best actress since whoopi Goldberg. Whoopi Goldberg! "The color purple." What do you make of it taking nearly four decades for another black woman to win? I'm so, so grateful for the award, but it's not lost on me that, you know, for 35 plus years, you know, that black women were really made to feel sort of inadequate in this space. You know? We're not just fighting the art part of it, right? Getting our stories told, we're fighting, making space in culture to say, hey, you've not heard the truth of our narratives. We love you. The naacp says Billie holiday is the voice of our people. What is your favorite Billie holiday song? Oh, my god. A pretty consistent one I will say is "God bless the child." But god bless the child that's got his own that's got his own Oh, and I also love "The lovable huggable miss brown." To you who is baby to me the lovable huggable Emily brown miss brown to you My next guest -- There's a part in the movie when she's being interviewed and he asks, you know, why is the government always going after you? And she says, my song, "Strange fruit" -- Reminds them that they're killing us. It reminds them -- it reminds you too, Reginald. Get her off that stage. Do you feel that a song has that much power? Absolutely it does. I always say that the system of racial inequality, right, is a system where they have to control the narrative, and they have for a very long time. And where they have to suppress it, where they have to lie. A song like "Strange fruit" is a really healthy dose of truth. Blood on the leaves and blood at the root we watched George Floyd be lynched. You know, we saw that. We saw him crying out for his mother. We watched that happen to ahmaud arbery. Kalief Browder was a huge one for me, as well. When we talk about "Strange fruit," perhaps arguably the ultimate protest song. But then "Rise up," as well, became this soundtrack and anthem for the black lives matter movement. And I'll rise up I'll rise like the day I will rise up I'll rise unafraid I'll rise up With "Rise up," it wasn't like I went in and I was like, "I want to make an anthem and I want this to change people's lives. To be honest with you, I just, I felt a little exhausted. It was the first time in my life I think I was just questioning whether music was something that I was going to do for a living. So, I really prayed in my car and just asked -- it was a surrender moment. I said, "God, whatever you want to say," you know. "What do you want to hear? Doubt. Yep. Absolutely. Oh, my god. Self-doubt, which you've expressed about yourself when taking this role. And there was so much that you went through, right? Because you don't smoke. You don't drink. You've been abstinent. Was it harder to overcome the self-doubt? I think that was the hardest thing to overcome for me. It was this self-doubt, like I said, I deal with now -- it has -- the term is, I guess, has imposter syndrome or something like that now. And I was like, "Yeah, I mean, I deal with that." But I think we all do to a degree. It was really having to trust and just say, "I've been equipped with whatever it is that I need for this thing. I have to trust." Camera set. In a little bit, you're going to sing "Tigress and tweed" for us. And to me, it sounds like the evolution of "Strange fruit." Yes, yes. Give us a sense of where it came from. One of the questions in my mind was, if Billie holiday were alive today, how would she have wanted to see "Strange fruit" evolved, right? And one of the first things that came to mind was, take them off the tree. Get off the tree, you know. Fruit stand tall. Fruit stand tall. These roots go deep. You know what I mean? You know -- and -- and cut it down under your feet. I wanted a sense of power, of strength. I wanted to feel like we were evolved. Say, say, say say a prayer for me strange fruit come down off the tree

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