Shonka Dukureh (blues singer, ‘Elvis’ actress) was found dead at 44
Police said Thursday that Shonka Dukureh, an American blues singer and actress, was found dead at her Tennessee home.
“Dukureh, who lived in her Kothe Way apartment with her children, was found dead in her bedroom,” said the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department in a statement. Unresponsive, one of her children ran to call 911.
Police stated that “no foul play is evident” and scheduled an autopsy to determine the cause.
Tributes pour in for the Charlotte-based singer who made Nashville her home.
“A special light went out this morning,” Luhrmann (the “Elvis”) director, wrote. He shared photos of his wife on set and said that the cast and crew were heartbroken.
Shonka brought joy and spirit to the world from the moment she entered it. Luhrmann said that everyone felt lifted whenever she was on the set, in the room or on stage. “Shonka was just beginning to get a wider audience for her incredible talent.
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Starring alongside Austin Butler (Elvis Presley) and Tom Hanks (Col. Tom Parker), she rose to stardom. Luhrmann shared Butler’s online tribute.
It is expected that the movie will win many awards during the Hollywood Awards season. It focuses on the practice of the White music icon to draw from the work of his Black contemporaries. and Dukureh play American blues singer Thornton who was the first person to record Leiber & Stoller’s “Hound Dog”, in 1952. A young Elvis sees this recording and adopts it.
Dukureh graduated from Nashville’s Fisk University where she studied theatre and later received a master’s in education at Trevecca Nazarene University. According to her website, she also worked as an author/playwright.
She has performed with Nick Cave, Mike Farris, and Jamie Liddell. This year she was at Coachella with Doja Cat, singer and rapper.
Doja Cat, real name Amala Ratna Dlamini, shared a tribute on Instagram. She shared a photo of her and said, “It was a great honor getting to get to know her.”
Dukureh had planned to release her first album studio album, “The Lady sings the Blues.” According to her website, “The project is tribute to the blues genre in celebration of those fierce undiscovered pioneering artists and musicians that paved the way to the rock’ n rolling music revolution.”
Nashville Mayor John Cooper sent his condolences and stated that “her powerful voice, artistry and music will live on through her music, so we pay tribute to her memory on this sad occasion.”