Actress Shonka Dukureh, who gained fame after her role in the new “Elvis” movie, has died.
Police say Shonka – who plays Big Mama Thornton in the film – was found dead on July 21, 2022, inside her Nashville apartment.
From People Magazine:
Dukureh was found dead in the bedroom of her Kothe Way apartment that she shared with her two young children, a news release from police stated. One of them found her unresponsive and ran to a neighbor’s apartment. The neighbor called 911 at 9:27 a.m.
No foul play is suspected, according to the news release, though authorities are awaiting autopsy results from the Davidson County Medical Examiner’s Office for an official cause of death.
“My deepest condolences to the family of Shonka Dukureh. Shonka graduated from Fisk and called Nashville home for many years,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said in a statement via Fox17. “Her powerful voice and artistry will live on through her music, and we honor her memory on this sad day.”
“I taught second grade for a little while over at Buena Vista Elementary in Metro Schools, and then did a lot of work with inner city youth doing after-school programing, summer programing — those programs that we need during the break so that kids can have a positive place to be,” Dukureh said.
“They’re blown away, like, ‘Wow! Miss Shonka! Really?’ ” she said, laughing. “I said, ‘I’m still Ms. Shonka, you know!’ ”
“It’s been amazing and I’m looking forward to doing it all over again,” she said. “It’s just been a dream. I didn’t even know it was a dream [of mine] until I really got there and experienced everything, but it has really been a chance of a lifetime, this life-altering experience.”
After about four weeks in theaters, “Elvis” has grossed more than $106 million in the US and Canada. The film is now the fourth-highest-grossing music movie since the mid-1970s.