Andra Day made history at the 78th annual awards ceremony when she became the second Black actress to win the Golden Globe best actress in a drama for her starring role in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.”
Day is the first actress to do so in 35 years. Whoopi Goldberg previously won the award for her performance in 1985′s “The Color Purple.” Day beat out fellow nominees Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”), Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) and Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”).
Due to the pandemic, Sunday’s ceremony was held virtually, but the digital celebrations did nothing to overshadow Day’s emotional reaction to receiving the award.
“Thank you so much for being so engaged in the story… I’m in the presence of giants with Viola Davis, Vanessa Kirby,” she said upon receiving the award, “and you inspire me so much and to the amazing transformative, dynamic, Billie Holiday, who just transformed me with this role, her spirit.”
Following her win, she spoke to reporters about how she channeled the spirit of Billie Holiday for her award-winning performance.
“The thing I take from Billie more than anything is the strength of a Black woman. To know that the last person who won this award was Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple is so not representative of how many Black women’s stories have been told sensationally and need to be told by the amazing talented actresses who do this.”
She continued, “On set, they’d say, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll never have to go through this again. There’s not that many meaty roles for black women.’ And I go, ‘Who the hell else has meatier roles and meatier stories than black women?’ So I take that strength with me. This woman shouldered all of this all on her own. She is the godmother of civil rights and I take that strength with me.”