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Shonka Dukureh obituary: Elvis actress dies at 44

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Shonka Dukureh was a blues singer and actress who appeared as Big Mama Thornton in the recent Baz Luhrmann movie “Elvis.” 

Big Mama Thornton in “Elvis”  

Shonka Dukureh was a blues singer and actress who was set to release her debut album this summer. She appeared briefly as legendary singer Big Mama Thornton in the Baz Luhrmann biopic “Elvis.” Dukureh appeared and sings in the Doja Cat video for her single “Vegas,” which is on the “Elvis” soundtrack, and she performed with Doja Cat on stage at this year’s Coachella Festival. She sings “Hound Dog” on the “Elvis” soundtrack as the song was originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton before Elvis’s version.  

Notable Quote

“I was very aware and wanting to really be intentional about making sure I was paying respect, respecting her, respecting her legacy, respecting her spirit, respecting everything about what she brought to music and understanding that I’m able to do it because she’s done it and laid that foundation.” – She told the Tennessean on playing Big Mama Thornton in the movie “Elvis” 


Tributes to Shonka Dukureh  

Full Obituary: The Tennessean

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