Billie Holiday and the War of Drugs

billieApril 7, 2015 – Segment 1

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Billie Holiday. In honor of her birth, we speak to Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the American Drug War, the centerpiece of which tells the tale of Harry Anslinger, the first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and his personal war to destroy Billie Holiday. Holiday struggled with heroin addiction but was also emblematic of the fearlessness of standing up against racism. Anslinger was a racist and he hated jazz, so Billie Holiday embodied all that he loathed.