Who was Shonka Dukureh? | The Sun

ACTRESS and singer Shonka Dukureh made her cinematic debut in Baz Luhrmann's 2022 film Elvis.

Not too long after her debut movie role in Elvis, it was revealed that Shonka was found dead in her apartment.

Who Was Shonka Dukureh?

Shonka Dukureh was recognized for her role in the 2022 musical drama Elvis.

In the film, she starred alongside Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, and Olivia DeJonge.

Shonka played the role of Big Mama Thornton, the late blues singer who was the first to release Hound Dog, which was famously covered later by Elvis.

Her vocals in the movie were sampled by Doja Cat for the motion picture's soundtrack single, Vegas.

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Doja featured the actress in the music video for the song and also brought her on stage to perform the hit single at Coachella in April 2022.

Regarding the casting process for Baz Luhrmann's Elvis, Shonka told Rated RnB: "I received a call from a friend in the music scene.

"From what I understand, she was doing some consulting to find talent to do some of the music background for the film.

"She asked me to record myself singing a couple of songs and send her the video."

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The actress further shared: "She passed it along to Baz [Luhrmann] and his company that was putting the movie together.

"They liked what they saw and had me come in and do a duet with Yola, who’s playing sister Rosetta in the film.

"They also had me do several songs from Big Mama Thornton’s repertoire."

Shonka said of her role as the late aforementioned singer: "One thing that stood out to me as I was researching Big Mama Thornton was her self-confidence.

"Instead of focusing on how to mock her or recreate her movements, I allowed the music to take my physical self to a different place.

"As I was going into the process, I knew that I first needed to be confident that whatever I was bringing to the table was enough for me to embody the whole experience at that time."

When did Shonka die?

On July 21, 2022, Shonka's death at the age of 44 years old was reported by several outlets.

That Thursday, one of Shonka's young children came across her lifeless body in one of the bedrooms in her Nashville, Tennessee apartment.

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The child then ran to get help from a neighbor, who then called 911.

Police claimed that they did not suspect any foul play.

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