the more things change, the more they stay the same. this one came out of my search for janet in hawaii, part of my quest to bulk up on performers in hopes of learning by osmosis for the musical. a lot came too late for the show, like 4, but have made their mark nonetheless. i understand that david nathan has a great respect for/desire to be a soulful diva, but someone could’ve advised him against that many exclamation points. i do appreciate the historical context of the music industry, and how it would seem that i was reading lauryn hill in nina simone (defecating on your microphone). the most interesting is this:
“She was less than kind about fellow performers Diana Ross and Roberta Flack during the show, commenting that-according to Braithwaite-‘Billie Holiday would turn in her grave’ if she saw the way Ross had portrayed her, and that Flack’s notion of playing Bessie Smith in a proposed movie on the blues singer’s life was equally incredulous.” (59)
i wonder what she would contribute to this whole zoe saldana bizness….
and, en parlant de biopics…
“She confessed that she’d met with considerable criticism for taking on the role of the legendary jazz singer, particularly in the black community. ‘People really felt that Billie and I were worlds apart, and there is a general feeling that my own life has been easy throughout. But, after all, it’s only what everyone reads. I’m not saying that the problems that Billie faced are the same as any that I’ve ever had, but I can relate to problems and tragedies also…To begin with, there was such a total ‘no’ about the whole idea of me playing Billie, especially since there were so many others in line for the part…I was so upset by it all that one day I phoned Berry and asked if it were too late to stop before we’d actually started.’
Whatever criticism there might have been about the notion of a glamorous star like Diana Ross playing the tragic role of Billie Holiday, the film was a success, earning her an Oscar nomination and giving her a No.1 best-selling album in the form of the two-LP soundtrack. In the afterglow of Diana’s first major venture as an actress, she admitted, ‘Somehow I feel [a little] lost between ‘Baby Love’ and ‘Lady Sings the Blues.’ I’m not sure which direction my career will take now. I do know that whatever happens, I intend to spend a good deal of time with my family. I’ve been traveling and working for twelve years now, and I want to make sure that my two children (Rhonda and Tracy) grow up properly. I know that as children of a mixed marriage, they’re going to face a lot of problems, and I want to help them as much as possible.’” (153)
and by now, beyonce has played her and etta james….alors.