Andra Day made history after she won the Golden Globe for best actress in a motion picture drama. She received the award for her excellent performance in the Hulu film, The United States vs. Billie Holiday.
This win including Chadwick Boseman’s win underlines the Golden Globes’ record with representation. She became the second Black woman ever to win this award after Whoopi Goldberg, 35 years ago. And late Chadwick Boseman became the first Black man to win the best actor award.
Andra expressed her gratitude as she was in tears surrounded by her family and friends. She thanked the “amazing, transformative, dynamic Billie Holiday, who just transformed me with this role and with her presence and with her spirit.” This marks the actress’s first acting nomination and wins at Golden Globes.
She is the first winner in this category for a movie that debuted on a streaming service. The actress had started her career as a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. Andra was nominated with Raphael Saadiq for the best original song, Tigress & Tweed.
The United States vs Billie Holiday was directed by Lee Daniels from a script by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. It dramatizes the final years in the life of Billie Holiday, who is a renowned jazz singer. The singer is said to have faced relentless persecution from the U.S. government over her performance of the song, Strange Fruit about the horrors of lynching.
Golden Globes Poor Representation
However, the role of Billie Holiday has had a long history at the Golden Globes. Back in 1972, Diana Ross was nominated for her performance as the singer in Lady Sings the Blues. Just like Andra, it was also Diana’s debut feature film.
The awards of Golden Globes have come under fierce scrutiny this month after a Los Angeles Times story revealed that the organization behind the awards ever, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association does not have any Black members.
Former HFPA president Meher Tatna had revealed that the body hasn’t had a Black member since at least 2002. At the same time, Time’s Up, an activist organization had posted a photo of a cracked Globes statue to Instagram with the hashtag #TImesUpGlobes. After a certain amount of time, HFPA released a statement saying it was “fully committed” to diversifying its membership.
This year, they addressed the issue during the award ceremony as three current members promised a more inclusive future in the words of HFPA President Ali Sar. Andra was nominated along with Viola Davis for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. She was also up against Vanessa Kirby for Pieces of a Woman, Frances McDormand for Nomadland, and Carey Mulligan for Promising Young Woman.