Nashville’s Shonka Dukureh Steps Into Role of a Lifetime in New Elvis Film

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NASHVILLE, TN — A new film based around the life and career of Elvis Presley is set to premiere in theaters this Friday, and Nashville’s own Shonka Dukureh will grace the screen as Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, who first recorded “Hound Dog.” A Fisk graduate and longtime local artist, Dukureh’s powerful voice is one of a handful of talented artists tapped to play some of the most famous names in music history. This is Dukureh’s first foray in the film industry, though she’s no stranger to performing. Shonka Dukureh (Photo by EmexFocus) “I was humming music before I was forming words,” she said. She spent much of her formative years singing at her church and got involved with musical theater in Nashville, leading her to Fisk where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater. When her artistic endeavors ventured from her college campus to the larger Music City community, Dukureh began getting opportunities to showcase her talents on the road. “That was my basis, my foundation to prepare me to take advantage of an opportunity that was presented to me to be a part of this absolutely amazing film,” she said. That opportunity first came in the...