Andra Day on Billie Holiday’s power in music

Day spoke with ABC News about portraying Holiday in film, her legacy and being only the second Black woman to win a Golden Globe for best actress nearly four decades after Whoopi Goldberg won.
5:16 | 04/07/21

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Transcript for Andra Day on Billie Holiday’s power in music
or nothing I can 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. You already won golden globe. Only the second black woman to win for best actress since whoopi Goldberg in "The color purple." 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. It's not lost on me that for 35-plus years, black women were really made to feel sort of inadequate in this space. We're not just fighting the art part of it, getting our stories told. We're fighting making space in culture to say, hey, you've not heard the truth of our narratives. I love me when I take on "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 I also love -- the loveable huggable miss brown to you is baby to me My next guest -- There's a part in the movie when she's being interviewed, and he asks, why is the government always going after you? And she says, my song "Strange fruit." Reminds them that they're killing us. Reminds them. It reminds you too. Southern trees 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. 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 roots We watched George Floyd be lynched. We saw that. We saw him crying out for his mother. We watched that happen to ahmaud arbery. Khalif proud waters a huge one for me as well. 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 "Rise up," it wasn't like I went, I want to make an anthem, I want this to change people's lives. To be honest with you, I felt a little exhausted. It was the first time in my life I was 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 action whatever you want to say. What do you want to hear, what do you want me to write? It is hope Doubt, right? Absolutely. The self-doubt that you've expressed. Oh my god. About yourself with taking this role. Yeah, I think that was the hardest thing to overcome for me was self-doubt. Now the term is imposter syndrome or something like that now. I was like, yeah, I deal with that. I think we all do, to a degree. It was really having to trust and just say, I've been equipped, like with whatever it is I need for this thing, I have to trust. Camera set. You're going to sing "Tigers in tweed" for us. Yes, yes. Strange fruit will come down off the tree cut it down under your feet 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? One of the first things that came to mind was, take them off the tree, get them off the true. Fruit stand tall. Roots go deep, cut it down under your feet. I wanted to feel like -- liberation. I wanted it to feel, you know, like we were mobilized and unified and evolved. You hear them say say say say a prayer for me Our thanks to linsey. You'll find full episodes of "Soul of a nation" on hulu.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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