*Miss Lawrence is speaking out about playing Miss Freddy, a stylist for Billie Holiday in Hulu’s “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” which is now streaming on the platform.
The drama feature stars singer Andra Day as the iconic jazz musician as “she’s being targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics in an undercover sting operation led by federal agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair, per Broadway World. Directed by Lee Daniels, the biopic examines Holliday’s struggles with addiction, fame and heartbreak.
“It is an extraordinary responsibility to tell the story of the iconic Billie Holiday. Her story is very personal to me and I hope to do justice when bringing to light this profound and complicated soul — a great artist and an unsung civil rights warrior,” Daniels previously said in a statement.
The film is inspired by the 2015 New York Times bestseller “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.”
Miss Lawerence, born Lawrence Washington, admires Miss Freddy for breaking gender rules long before it was socially acceptable.
“Their stories are not often told,” Miss Lawrence said, per AJC.com. “I thought it was genius for Lee to make sure Miss Freddy got the visibility in the movie.”
“I have a strong connection to women, Black women in particular,” she said. “A lot of my very closest friends are Black women. They were the ones who accepted me for who I am from an early age whether they were in full agreement or not. I knew I was loved.”
Miss Lawrence is proud to explore this character and add to the conversation about Black American cinema.
“We are now in a space where we can tell our full stories and tell our truths in a very unadulterated way, stories that helped shift and change our culture as Black people,” she said. “We have to honor people like Billie Holiday and Miss Freddy and so many people that came way before us and started the work. Eventually, it won’t be work anymore, and we’ll literally be able to live in our full freedom.”
“The United States vs. Billie Holiday” is now streaming on Hulu.