Based on a T.R.U. Story

Prior to watching “Lady Sings the Blues” for class, I didn’t know much about who Billie Holiday was.  I can vaguely remember hearing her name, maybe during a Black History program in grade school but I’m not sure. This movie was my introduction to Billie Holiday and in my opinion it didn’t do a good job at narrating her autobiography. However, it did excel in making her appear as a weak drug addict who was dependent on men, but was somehow a lady. The movie provided a variety of awkward moments that didn’t make sense because of all of the gaps and unexplained scenes in the story. For example, it didn’t explain how she got the name Billie Holiday, or what happened after her rape. In class these things and others became clearer and I learned more about who the real Billie Holiday was. Shockingly, she wasn’t a small fragile looking woman. She looked more like a woman of the world, strong, solid, and well experienced in the highs and lows of life. Also the movie focused a lot on her drug addiction so much that I thought she was more of a drug addict than a singer. It didn’t even show much of her careers achievements instead it focused more on the drugs and her relationship with Louis. As a result, my initial thoughts after watching the movie was that Billie had a loving husband, Louis Mckay who even stood by her when she was fighting her drug addiction. The moral of this story is, this movie was my first form of information about Billie Holiday, and according to Google and the information we learned in class, most of the movie was fictional. This leads me to wonder who is in charge of creating autobiographical movies about women of color and other movies in that genre.  Who gets a say in what is deemed true and false about their lives?  Why is this movie still open to the public when it can be discredited and who profits off of it? When it clearly doesn’t help the image of Billie Holiday,  Can we trust anything that is supposedly based on a “True Story” ?





  1. DG,
    I had the same experience of you and I complete agree with your argument. The movie was not a good depiction of Billie Holiday and the life that she lived. I do not understand how movies like Lady Sings the Blue can be accepted as autobiographical movies since they do not show the real truth and they also change some of the important facts of her life.

  2. “Shockingly, she wasn’t a small fragile looking woman. She looked more like a woman of the world, strong, solid, and well experienced in the highs and lows of life.” I couldn’t agree with you more. It brings me back to my point of how strong you have to be a black woman. Especially from listening to our class discussion, it sound as if Miss Holiday didn’t take no mess and wasn’t afraid to speak out. I love black women like that 🙂

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