words of wisdom

Lee Daniels, Russell T. Davies and Jen Richards speak: The 2021 Queerty Interview Highlights

John Hoffman of ‘Only Murders in the Building’

2021 has run the gamut from awesome to awful. For decades to come, art and entertainment will tell the story of how we all got here, how we survived, and where we’re going next.

But don’t take it from us. As the year winds down, have a look back at some of the insight and wisdom gifted to us by other LGBTQ artists. For from hardship and triumph comes the same thing: hope.

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Apparently Natasha Lyonne taught Lee Daniels how to smoke after sex. We should all be so lucky.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday — Billie Holiday, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time, spent much of her career being adored by fans across the globe. Beginning in the 1940Õs in New York City, the federal government targeted Holiday in a growing effort to escalate and racialize the war on drugs, ultimately aiming to stop her from singing her controversial and heart-wrenching ballad, ÒStrange Fruit.Ó Louis McKay (Rob Morgan), Billie Holiday (Andra Day), and Director Lee Daniels, shown. (Photo by: Takashi Seida/Hulu)

On directing a graphic scene of a lynching:

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever directed.It is in one take, one shot. And it was emotionally draining. The crew—my assistant director, my production designer, my cinematographer—mapped it out a week beforehand. We had everyone walking through it so they knew what it would be. The actors didn’t really step into it until the day of. And what you see is the first take. We were in it. I did three takes, and that was the take we used. I think the hardest part for me was watching the kids cry. They genuinely were traumatized by seeing a woman hanging from a tree, and [a burning cross]. God was on my side with that one. We literally got off a bus, and I followed [Billie Holiday]. The camera pans around to what she’s seeing. I get chills thinking about it now.I wanted you to feel like what it was like to see a lynching, what it was like to experience jazz in that time, and what it was like to experience the high that [Billie] was on.”

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