It’s a truth universally acknowledged that much of what we learned in history class growing up was half-truths, whitewashed lies, and dumbed down patriotism. George Washington could, in fact, tell a lie, and the north winning the Civil War didn’t just up and end racism in America. It’s only in recent years, though, that more and more people are coming to learn more about the one-note heroes we’ve come to revere as Americans, be they presidents, activists, or, in the case of Billie Holiday, musicians.
That’s something that The United States Vs. Billie Holiday star Tyler James Williams would love to see more of. In the video above he tells The A.V. Club about why he thinks it’s important to see the total picture—or as much as we can get—of our heroes. There’s much we don’t know, both good and bad, and it’s only once we see these icons as people that we come to truly respect their struggles.
Williams is also joined by Moonlight star Trevante Rhodes, who talks about his favorite songs from Holiday’s catalog.
The United States Vs. Billie Holiday premieres on Hulu Friday, February 26.