Elvis Star Shonka Dukureh Dies Aged 44

Anish Vij

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Elvis Star Shonka Dukureh Dies Aged 44

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros./@iamshonkadukureh/Instagram

Elvis actor Shonka Dukureh has sadly died at the age of 44.

The blues singer was found dead in her apartment in Tennessee on Thursday (21 July), Metro Nashville Police have said.

In a statement released on Twitter the police force wrote: "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."


Dukureh featured as Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis and also recently appeared alongside singer Doja Cat for her song 'Vegas'.

She also got the chance to perform on stage with Doja at Coachella earlier this year.

The blues singer was found dead in her apartment in Tennessee on Thursday (21 July), Metro Nashville Police have said. Credit: @iamshonkadukureh/Instagram
The blues singer was found dead in her apartment in Tennessee on Thursday (21 July), Metro Nashville Police have said. Credit: @iamshonkadukureh/Instagram

Darren Higman, EVP Music for Elvis distributor Warner Bros., issued a statement Thursday.

He wrote: "When we began looking for singers and musicians for Elvis we came across a very special talent in our gospel session by the name of Shonka.

"We recorded over a period of months, during which time Baz also witnessed this immense talent.

"This movie kicked off an active breakthrough point in her career, which she relished.

"She appeared in the movie and made a pop music video with Doja Cat.

"Shonka will be forever remembered as kind, gentle, and very modest about her immense talent. 

"We are so happy the world got to witness that talent through Elvis."

Dukureh featured as Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis and also recently appeared alongside singer Doja Cat for her song Vegas. Credit: Warner Bros.
Dukureh featured as Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis and also recently appeared alongside singer Doja Cat for her song Vegas. Credit: Warner Bros.

In the film, Dukureh is credited with recording Hound Dog, which her character, Big Mama Thornton, sang back in the day, and was one of Elvis' early hits.

Speaking on her performance, she said: "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."

The singer was due to release her debut album 'The Lady Sings the Blues' this year - a tribute to blues music.

“The project is a tribute to the blues music genre in celebration of those fierce unsung pioneering artists and musicians who paved the way for the rock ‘n’ roll music revolution”, Dukureh said.

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Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Celebrity

Anish Vij
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