September 22, 2021


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Lee Daniels’ ‘Billy Holiday Biopic Offer’ in Cannes – Variety

2 min read

Sierra / Affinity is managing Lee Daniels’ international sales. Billy Holiday, “starred as a jazz singer in the upcoming Cannes Virtual Market.

This biopic is being targeted by Holiday federal agents with a disguised sting operation over his controversial 1939 song, “Strange Fruit,” which protested the lynching of Black Americans. “USA vs. Billy Holiday” Inspired by Johan Harry’s 2015 New York Times Bestseller “Screaming: The First and Last Day of the War on Drugs”.

“With the eyes of the world forced to look at the century-old persecution of black people, I hope ‘United States vs. Billy Holiday’ will add to this important conversation by shedding light on systematic racism and social injustice,” Daniels said. At this time of great reckoning we celebrate the life and artistry of Billy Holiday, the crude civil rights fighter, and we are proud to be part of Sierra / Affinity to bring this story to the world stage.

Diversity It was first reported in 2018 before Daniels and Day joined. Daniels has directed, produced and co-authored the biopic, which also features Travent Rhodes, Garrett Headlund and Natasha Leon. Other cast members include Tone Bell, Blake DeLong, Melvin Gregg, Eric Larry Harvey, Miss Lawrence, Adrian Lennox, Rob Morgan, D’Wine Joy Randolph, Evan Ross and Taylor James Williams.

The screenplay was co-written by Suzanne-Laurie Park, the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for her play “Topdog / Underdog”.

The film is produced by Roth Kirchenbaum Films, including New Slate Ventures, Lee Daniel Entertainment, Jordan Fuse, Lee Daniels, Pamela Os Williams, Tucker Tolly, Joe Roth and Jeff Kirchenbaum. Executive producers include Hillary Shar, Jeremy Allen, Patty Long, Johan Harry, Cassian Elvis, Mark Bomback and Dennis Stratton.

Holiday portrayed Diana Ross in the 1920 film “Lady Sings the Blues”, which won five Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Ross.

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