The 2021 Golden Globes closed out the night with Andra Day winning for Best Actress in a motion picture drama for The United States vs. Billie Holiday.
The singer turned actress broke down into tears, surrounded by her parents and other family members and friends, as she gave an acceptance speech in which she acknowledged “giants” like Viola Davis who was also nominated in the same category.
Day is only the second Black actress to win the award, according to the L.A. Times, with Whoopi Goldberg for “The Color Purple” in 1987 being the first. However, although this was Day’s first major acting role, it was her incredible portrayal and ability to channel legendary singer Billie Holiday that made the decision a no-brainer.
Holiday endured abusive relationships with men, heroin addiction, harassment by the F.B.I. and blackballed by her own community during her career. The film however is not a display of her victimhood, but a revelation into her strength and endurance.
“It took me forever to get improper,” Day told the Hollywood Reporter. “I did start smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and being more sexual.”
In her acceptance speech, Day thanked Holiday who “transformed me with this role and her presence and her spirit.”