Hulu is now streaming The United States vs. Billie Holliday. Somewhat reluctantly I began to watch it. And, as I worried would happen, I couldn't finish it. Not because I know how it ends. I couldn't tolerate her self-destructiveness. And I'm not speaking about the heroin . I. The Persecution of Billie Holliday Johann Hari's drug policy and addiction -concept-reform book, Chasing the Scream , in which Billie Holliday's persecution at the hands of federal drug enforcement pioneer Harry Anslinger is retold, has been made into a movie now screening on Hulu: The United States vs. Billie Holliday . (Amazon is also streaming the documentary, Billie .) As portrayed by Hari, for some perverted combination of reasons—sexual, racial, political, even aesthetic—Anslinger targeted the brilliant Black jazz singer, Billie Holliday. Anslinger (and J. Edgar Hoover), considered Holliday subversive. (Of course, Hoover felt the same way about Marian Anderson, whose name crops up in the film. But Anderson, who performed both classical and spiritual music and who didn't use drugs, was protected by Eleanor Roosevelt.) As a result, Holliday's performances and her career were regularly interrupted by local police and federal authorities, and she was jailed for her heroin use. Her career destroyed, she… Read full this story
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