Andra Day paid homage to legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday with a powerful performance of Holiday’s classic song, “Strange Fruit,” at the 2021 BET Awards. Day, who starred as Holiday in the Hulu film, The United States vs Billie Holiday, channeled the spirit and energy of the iconic songstress yet again without missing a beat. Joined by a trumpeter, the singer/actress put forth a minimalist performance, as she took center stage. “Southern trees bear a strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood on the root,” Day sang, enunciating each word to drive the significance of the message home, causing for one of the more intense and heartfelt moments of the evening.
2021 has been a breakout year for Day, whose striking portrayal of iconic jazz singer Billie Holiday in the biographical film garnered critical acclaim and raised her profile within the entertainment industry. Released this past February, Day’s performance in the film netted her an Academy Award for Best Actress, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, and a nomination for the Golden Globe for Best Original Song for “Tigress and Tweed.”