This biopic of Lady Day was fantastic even though it was not really representative of the lady in question. One, Billie Holiday was not quite the diva that Diana Ross made it out to her be. This is acknowledged in the extra footage on the DVD. Except in the footage, they (the costumer designers) say the real Billie Holiday is a “heavy set woman who doesn’t look like she can move too fast.”
These are pictures of Billie Holiday from the official website. Who knew?
So, why was lanky Diana Ross cast? She wasn’t anything like Billie Holiday, physically or vocally. And on Imdb.com, a lot of user comments seem upset by her depiction as well. I understand what they’re getting at. They portrayed her the way they portray “suffering lady novelists,” rather than the strong sassy woman she was who happened to be struggling with addiction. Glamorization and romancing tragedy seems be an irresistible temptation.
But, instead, we have this 1972 movie poster.
Even watching the extra footage illuminated how much of this was an endeavor of love on Berry Gordy’s part. Maybe, this was about Diana Ross and not Billie Holiday as the movie pretends to be. Hard to tell since I did not join you earthlings until 1985.
Well, regardless, I still enjoyed it for what it was. It is refreshing to see beautiful Black love (we need more Billy Dee Williams type of men!). I do wish there was an actual biopic about Billie Holiday that made sense. That was actually about her and not about the popular actress of the time playing Lady Day. For example, from here on we shall pretend Carmen: A Hip Hopera never happened.
Here is my favorite:
I wish I could have found footage of her singing Good Morning Heartache and Lady Sings the Blues. Let me know if you find some! God Bless the Internet!