Additionally, Hulu released the first official trailer of the film on Monday, showcasing Andra Day in her role as Billie Holiday, one of the most renowned jazz singers of all time. The United States vs. Billie Holiday follows her efforts to evade the federal government, who targeted her in the early Forties in order to escalate and racialize the war on drugs. As seen in the trailer, the feds even intervened during one of Holiday’s performances of her controversial ballad “Strange Fruit,” which described the violent history of lynching in the United States.
“Whether you are new to the story and legacy of Billie Holiday or know every note she ever sang, I do hope our celebration of this complex woman does justice to a great musical legend and civil rights activist whose artistry resonates as well today, as it did 80 years ago,” director Lee Daniels said in a statement. “Hulu releasing this film and giving it a platform to be seen nationwide is a blessing, because as recent events reveal, our country has much work to do in fulfilling its promise of a more perfect union.”
The United States vs. Billie Holiday also stars Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne, Garrett Hedlund, Miss Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Evan Ross, Tyler James Williams, Tone Bell, and Erik LaRay Harvey. The screenplay was written by Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The film will be available to watch on Hulu.com.