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  • Corey @ I'll Keep You Posted...
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  • Historian. Genealogist. Writer. Why not? Ask what you want to know!


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April 09, 2012


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Sorry I hated the damn movie. I didn't see it in the theaters (I was too young). I saw the movie as a teen in the 1980s about the same time I read the real Billie Holiday's autobiography.

Diana Ross didn't look like Billie Holliday. She didn't sound like Billie Holliday. And she certainly didn't act like Billie Holliday.

And the movie was about as close to Billie Holliday's true life as I am to Pluto.

Let's be honest. Berry Gordy was fucking Diana and this movie was a gift to her, just like his gross miscasting her a few years later in the Wiz. So that Ho-Stroll dress was not too far off the mark.

I'm waiting for somebody to do a real movie about Holliday. It's quite a cautionary tale that has been repeated by Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and now Whitney.



Hi Immanuel. The whole "Diana Ross didn't look like Billie Holliday. She didn't sound like Billie Holliday. And she certainly didn't act like Billie Holiday" argument is an old one, indeed. Thirty years later, I think it no longer holds water when viewed in the proper context. She rose to the occasion and silenced her detractors ... pretty much. Like you say, "Let's be honest ... this movie was a gift to her." And what is wrong with that? They worked together and realized their dreams. Why does she have to be "not too far off the mark" for having a relationship with the president of the company. SHE BUILT IT!

PS: Those who knew Holiday often said that there was quite a sizeable element of fiction even in her own autobiography. I would definitely recommend reading With Billie by Julia Blackburn and Wishing On The Moon by Donald Clarke.


lady sings the blues was awondereful film ms. ross is brilliant in this role,miss holiday had a tough life at the time in 1972,they werent' given any money to make films with black themes but exploitation movies,berry gordy wanted to make a film so black actors were respected,has for any relationships Diana was alredy married and to use the profanity is disrespectfull to mr. gordy he is a genius has given the world the motown sound and brough the black entertainers to super status!miss holiday would be proud of this film, why bringthis woman down to just being a junkie with a unique voice,show respect is not your thing though!


excuse me, but it appears you as the author missed the most important mark of all in your diatribe about LSTB: the movie earned 5 ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS INCLUDING BEST ACTRESS AND BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY. Just how the hell do you forget to even remotely mention that??? not 1, not 2, nor 3, but 5??? and you don't even mention it?? Maybe, Corey or whatever your name is, it's because you're too focused on re-iterating 40 y/o gossip that you missed the one element that mya have possible lent some credibility to your pathetic verbage. Next time: go for facts and leave gossip and half-truths out.


Hello Thomas (or whatever "YOUR" name is). Excuse you, you say? There is no excuse for bad manners and ignorance. While I do not gush over LSB and Miss Ross in this post, it remains a very positive one. There are so many facts that I did not mention about the movie in this post; the fact that Miss Ross was nominated for Best Actress is probably the most well known of all. I did not forget to mention it. Since you are able to read so much more into it than what I wrote, perhaps you would like to be a little more clear on all the "40 year old gossip" that, according to you, I am obsessed with. There are no half-truths here, baby. And the focus here is on the beautiful yellow dress that Miss Ross wore as Billie Holiday. There is MORE about THAT than anything else, other than my own musings about when the film came out. It wasn't meant to be an ESSAY on LSB. Moreover, I didn't have to read about most of it. I WAS THERE! Where were YOU? The next time you think you want to come for me about facts, you should think again or go some place else ..... since my "verbage" is so pathetic.


LSTB is a wonderful film. It has terrific acting, some wonderful costumes as pointed out, and the music is amazing and achieved far more than anyone dared hope before it was released.

What it definitely is NOT is an accurate biography of Billie Holiday. That indisputable fact does not reduce its effectiveness as a film. That the filmmakers loved Billie Holiday is clear in the film.

Let me put it more bluntly: don't hate the film just because it is not factually accurate. It remains a good piece of cinema and if you dismiss it simply because of its inaccuracies you're missing the point of the film.


Hi Tim. Thanks for your comment! I just happened to be "right here" when it came through, hence the quick response. Yes, I totally agree with you. LSB is a wonderful film and remains one of my favorites; it was probably my FIRST favorite film of all time.

However, with the way the comments are going here, you would think I totally bashed the film and Ross, too - in the one or two short, light-weight paragraphs that I devoted to it.

Everything here is laudatory. There is NOTHING hateful or dismissive here about Ross or the movie. I think your comment reiterates everything that I've already said.

Thanks Again.

Derrick from Philly

Lord, Corey, I learned my lesson years ago about discussing La Ross with the "children". Anybody could tell from reading your piece that you are a loyal Ross fan.

One night, out in Gay Acres (that was the part of Fairmount Park where Black Gay and Down Low guys used to hang out) I made the deadly mistake of saying that Queen Aretha was a far greater singing talent than La Ross. Well, the queens came from all directions getting in my face, and telling me that I didn't know what the f.ck I was talking about. I thought I was going to get lynched by those raging bitches. I think one of them may have interrupted his sex session just to get in my face over the insult to La Ross. I should've told him, "Bitch, get back in them bushes and clean your nasty azz."

Yep, when you're around Black Gay men PLEASE be careful what you say about that skinny gal from Detroit.


Oh, MY, Derrick!

But yes, I know all about those "children". I used to be one of them! Say the wrong thing and I was ready to CUT YOU .... with something .... ANYTHING!

What IS this STRANGE devotion? Sometimes, I think one good fan-to-diva encounter will take care of it REAL GOOD!


Paul Zaryczny

How many "biopics" are 100% accurate?
Look at the Fanny Brice rewqrite in the hugely popular Funny Girl. Is Barbra Streisand trashed for that. No...
Let's be accurate here, every biopic has its own slant and you can't fault them for that. LSB is a wonderful, romantic film that gave Diana Ross a chance to perform and achieve more with her wonderful voice. She stretched and tried something new and the result was beautiful!
Kudos to her and Barry Gordy.


Hi Corey

Sorry, my comment wasn't directed at you; rather, it was directed at your first respondent.

I forgot to add, thanks for pointing out the interesting link between the Mackie/Agayan-designed dress in the film and the Marsh painting. Absolutely fascinating! Where is the High Yeller painting now? And where do you think Mackie/Agyan might have seen it?

Michael Taylor

I think the movie is stunning! Everything about it! Especially Diana Ross! The rich buttery timbre in her unique singing sound; the emotional complexity of her vocal phrasing; and the natural ability in her first acting role all came together incredibly - along with the fabulous supporting cast! Yes, Mr. Gordy took liberties from the facts of Ms. Holiday's real story and they all reaped many benefits from its success. On a separate but related matter, when the film Dreamgirls was released, many from the Motown camp criticized or did not embrace it for basically the same reason Lady Sings The Blues was criticized - for not being their real story. There were claims of misrepresentation, profiting from their likenesses, etc. Ross, during an appearance on David Letterman, half jokingly said when asked if she had seen the movie that she hadn't, but if she did she would see it "with her lawyer." As much as I love Diana Ross and Berry Gordy, I thought "how soon we forget." The Dreamgirl makers did with Dreamgirls, pretty much (I'm not saying exactly) what Berry and Diana did with Lady Sings The Blues. They created art loosely based on a real person's life (that's what Berry did with Lady after having taken all his liberties). Only Berry and Diana were alive to bear witness (to Dreamgirls). I say to both of them, how do you think Bille Holiday would have felt? And also, quit your wining about Dreamgirls being so inaccurate, blah, blah, blah! What goes around comes around!

Shannon Mullins

I really would love to purchase the painting of the high yella ho stroll while the man is staring at Diana Ross as she passes by. I would like this picture in a poster size. Can you please tell me how to find this particular piece?

Salima Masud

"I would definitely recommend reading With Billie by Julia Blackburn and Wishing On The Moon by Donald Clarke."

I just purchased Billie Holiday: Wishing On The Moon. Thank you, Mr.Corey.

I can't find a book about Carmen Mcrea and I know you are the one to ask. I tried Strand Book Store in New York.

Salima Masud

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