Actor and musician Shonka Dukureh has died. She was 44.
Dukureh, who portrayed Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann’s new film Elvis, was found dead in her Nashville apartment on Thursday, 21 July, according to a tweet from Nashville police.
BREAKING: No foul play is evident in today’s death of actress Shonka Dukureh, 44, who portrayed Big Mama Thornton in this year’s Elvis movie. Dukureh, a Fisk Univ graduate, was found dead in the bedroom of her Kothe Way apt that she shared with her 2 young children.
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) July 21, 2022
According to MEDIA, Dukureh’s role as Thornton, an R&B singer who was the first artist to record the song Hound Dog, later made famous by Elvis Presley, was her first major film appearance.
Reflecting on her Elvis role in a recent interview she shared on Instagram, Dukureh wrote: “Gratefulness is where I live cuz my granny, gmama, momma, family modeled and instilled it in me. It isn’t a posture of less than or crumbs scraping, but one that acknowledges good things aren’t a guarantee and when we encounter them thankfulness, gratefulness is the least we can express [sic].”