Though some would possibly think about Day an activist (her chart-topping single “Rise Up” has turn out to be the unofficial anthem for Black Lives Matter, as an illustration), it’s not truly a time period she identifies with. “It’s so humorous to listen to the phrase ‘activist’ as a result of I don’t consider myself as one,” she chuckles. “I do know that individuals would say that most likely sounds very cliché and humble-but-not-humble, however I don’t. I need folks to know that I really like God, and I need folks to come across that after they encounter me. These ascribed titles, I don’t give them to myself, and, you recognize, Billie didn’t both. It’s simply wanting to assist folks and eager to serve greater than something. I’m a servant. That’s what it’s, and that’s one of the best ways I can describe it. In my thoughts, I’ve this stunning image of eternity, simply concerning one another as greater than ourselves and all people is liked and valued and brought care of.”
God, Day tells me, was additionally one of many major causes she determined to audition for her now award-winning position—a job that, initially, each she and the movie’s director, Lee Daniels, felt she had no enterprise having something to do with. Regardless of Day’s longtime love for Vacation, which dates again to her preteens, she had no skilled appearing expertise. She didn’t have any appearing expertise in any respect aside from her early years spent at a performing arts college doing musical theater. “I at all times knew I needed to be concerned within the arts and to carry out, however again then, it was extra about ‘Properly, do I wish to attempt to do Broadway, or do I wish to attempt to file music?’” By no means, she says, would she have ever believed she’d be up in opposition to Hollywood’s elite appearing skills for the business’s most coveted awards. “I imply, I didn’t wish to do that film. I used to be terrified. I used to be like, ‘I’ll undergo with the audition, however I’m going to be horrible.’ Lee and I, we had been form of compelled on one another,” she laughs.
“However then we began speaking, and once I came upon the movie would give attention to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the way Harry J. Anslinger, J. Edgar Hoover, and [Joseph] McCarthy created this focused conflict on medicine to get Billie to cease singing ‘Unusual Fruit,’ a tune about lynching in America, I spotted that this movie can be vindicating her legacy. That was extraordinarily engaging for me. That’s what made me audition.”