Black Divas: Josephine Baker & Mary Lou Williams

Josephine Baker

Join the African Diaspora Film Festival for a special review of Black Divas: Josephine Baker and Mary Lou Williams. It all takes place on Sunday, March 31st at 4 p.m. as part of the Women’s History Month Series. 

4pm – JOSEPHINE BAKER: BLACK DIVA IN A WHITE MAN’S WORLD: A tender, revealing documentary about one of the most famous and popular performing artists of the 20th century. Her legendary banana belt dance created theatre history; her song “J’ai deux amours” became a classic, and her hymn. The film focuses on her life and work from a perspective that analyses images of Black people in popular culture. It portrays the artist in the mirror of European colonial clichés and presents her as a resistance fighter, an ambulance driver during WWII, and an outspoken activist against racial discrimination involved in the worldwide Black Consciousness movement of the 20th century. Directed by Annette von Wangenheim; Documentary; Germany; 2006; 45 mins; French/German/English 

4:45pm – MARY LOU WILLIAMS: THE LADY WHO SWINGS THE BAND: Mary Lou Williams was a leading musical innovator determined to create in a world that only saw her race or gender. Q&A with director Carol Bash after the screening! She was ahead of her time, a genius. During an era when Jazz was the nation’s popular music, Mary Lou Williams was one of its greatest innovators. As both a pianist and composer, she was a font of daring and creativity who helped shape the sound of 20th century America. And like the dynamic, turbulent nation in which she lived, Williams seemed to redefine herself with every passing decade.  From child prodigy to “Boogie-Woogie Queen” to groundbreaking composer to mentoring some of the greatest musicians of all time, Mary Lou Williams never ceased to astound those who heard her play. But away from the piano, Williams was a woman in a “man’s world,” a black person in a “whites only” society, an ambitious artist who dared to be different, and who struggled against the imperatives of being a “star.” Above all, she did not fit the (still) prevailing notions of where genius comes from or what it looks like. Time and again, she pushed back against a world that said, “You can’t” and said, “I can.” It nearly cost her everything. Directed by Carol Bash, Documentary, USA, 2015, 60min, English

*Part of ADIFF’S Women History Month Film Series – More info on nyadiff.org. SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE: Friday, March 29  6:30pm – Looking for Life – FREE Screening! (Haiti)  8:00pm – The Black Mozart in Cuba (Guadeloupe/Cuba)  Saturday, March 30  2:00pm – African Women Directors: Zara M. Yacoub & Khady Sylla (Chad, Senegal) 3:20pm – I’m Not a Witch (Zambia) 5:15pm – No Shade – Back by popular demand! (UK) 7:40pm – The Green Book: Guide to Freedom – Q&A (USA)  Sunday, March 31 2:00pm – Foreign Body (Tunisia) 4:00pm – Black Divas: Josephine Baker & Mary Lou Williams (Germany, USA) 6:30pm – Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me (UK/USA)

Source: Black PR Wire

Leave a Comment