Crafted from extraordinary unheard interviews, and restoring key performances into color for the first time, Billie is the story of the singer who changed the face of American music, and the journalist who died trying to tell it.
Billie Holiday had one of the greatest voices of all time. She was a woman of breath-taking talent and global popularity while also stirring controversy. She started a notable rebellion singing “Strange Fruit” which exposed the realities of Black life in America and earned her powerful enemies. Raw, emotional and brutally honest, Billie is filled with incredible, unheard testimonies from musical greats like Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sylvia Syms and Count Basie.”
Then in the late 1960’s journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl set out to write the definitive biography of Billie. Over the next decade, she tracked down and tape-recorded interviews with the extraordinary characters that populated the iconic singer’s short, tumultuous life.
These incredibly intimate testimonies are not only told by some of the musical greats, but Billie Holiday herself is revealed through the eyes of her cousin, her school friends, lovers, lawyers, pimps and even the FBI agents who arrested her. Linda’s book was never finished and the tapes unplayed – until now.
With unprecedented and exclusive access to Linda’s astonishing 200 hours of never-before-heard interviews, Billie showcases an American legend, capturing her depths and complexity through the voices of those who knew her best. Painstakingly restored with footage and stills colorized by one of the leading color artists, it is an arresting and powerful tale of one of the greatest singers who ever lived, and of Linda Lipnack Kuehl, the woman who would sacrifice her life in trying to tell it.