Table of Contents
Shonka Dukureh Biography – Shonka Dukureh Wiki
Shonka Dukureh was a singer and actress who appeared as blues singer Big Mama Thornton in the film “Elvis”. Dukureh starred alongside Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker in the 2022 film, and shared the stage at Coachella with Doja Cat.
A Charlotte, North Carolina native and Nashville resident, Dukureh graduated with a Bachelors degree in Theatre from Fisk University and a Masters degree in Education from Trevecca Nazarene University.
Originally interested in pursuing education, the teacher-turned-performing artist successfully starred in many touring musicals and plays around the country. She garnered critical acclaim for her role in American Duet, by Marcus Hummon and was nominated and won the 2003 Tennessean Theatre Award for Best Musical Direction or Performance as a Vocalist. Additionally, she spent over ten years touring across the country to college campuses and conferences performing with the First Amendment Center’s Freedom Sings, a multi-media musical production.
Dukureh has also toured internationally with recording artist Jamie Liddell and The Royal Pharohs. Some of her other lauded performances include, but are not limited to the following: Featured Soloist for Emmy Nominated Nick Cave: Featuring Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn Center; Background Vocals for Grammy Award Winner Mike Farris on his 2018 Album Silver and Stone; Background Vocals for legendary music producer Pete Rock and Smoke Dza’s 2016 album Don’t Smoke Rocks; Featured Lead Vocalist 2016 Album Nate Bean and 4Given Hymns and Devotionals Unplugged; Featured Lead Vocalist for Bahamas recording artist Christopher Roberts and Friends The Choir Project; Background Vocals for Multiple Grammy Award Winner Ashley Cleveland’s 2009 Album God Don’t Never Change; Detroit’s Gem Theatre’s 2006 Production of Respect: The Musical Journey of Women directed and choreographed by three- time Tony Award Winner Hinton Battle.
Dukureh was set to release her first studio album aptly titled, “The Lady Sings the Blues” this summer, according to her website.
Shonka Dukureh Age
Dukureh died on Thursday, July 21, 2022. She was 44 years of age.
Shonka Dukureh Children
Nashville singer and actress Shonka Dukureh is survived by her two young children.
Shonka Dukureh Death
‘Elvis’ actress Shonka Dukureh was found dead in the bedroom of her Nashville apartment on Thursday, July 21, 2022, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said in a statement. One of her two young children found her unresponsive and ran to a neighbor’s apartment. The neighbor telephoned 911 at 9:27 a.m.
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said no foul play was suspected and that an autopsy had been scheduled by the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine her cause of death.
Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Mayor John Cooper tweeted his condolences to Dukureh’s family, saying, “My deepest condolences to the family of Shonka Dukureh. Shonka graduated from [Fisk University] and called Nashville home for many years. Her powerful voice and artistry will live on through her music, and we honor her memory on this sad day.”
DojaCat, who sang “Vegas” on the “Elvis” movie soundtrack, said Dukureh was an incredible talent in an Instagram story post.
“Was a true honor getting to know her and I am so grateful to her for lending her incredible vocals to ‘Vegas’,” the post read. “Her amazing performance in Elvis amongst her other artistry will live on.”
Yola, who portrays Sister Rosetta Tharpe in “Elvis” alongside Dukureh’s Big Mama Thornton, added the following via Instagram: “Today we lost a gentle soul. We in Nashville knew her as a very humble and shy person who would transform before our eyes into a blistering singing and acting talent. We are heartbroken. Rest in power dear Shonka Dukureh, your light went out far too soon. Sending love to her family including her two young kids at this impossibly hard time.”
Shonka Dukureh Cause of Death
Dukureh’s cause of death was “hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” a representative for the medical examiner’s office told The Los Angeles Times.
The Mayo Clinic classifies arteriosclerosis as a condition that occurs when arteries become thick and stiff — sometimes restricting blood flow to the organs and tissues. Hypertensive heart disease is a condition that develops in people who live long-term with high blood pressure, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Shonka Dukureh Movies
On June 24th, 2022, Shonka Dukureh made her big screen debut starring in a featured role as Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton in the new ELVIS movie musical starring actors Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as “Colonel” Tom Parker.
The actress played her first major film role as Big Mama Thornton, a task she did not take lightly. “[Big Mama Thornton] was really raw with what she did and very honest and truthful and [made] music as she felt it. And I could totally relate to that,” said Dukureh.
“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.”
Shonka Dukureh Net Worth
Shonka Dukureh’s net worth was estimated to be $2 million.