Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud at 50
David Goodson | 10/11/2018, 12:32 p.m.
After hearing it blared all summer, I never ever thought I to would have to pose the question, but after Tuesday, Oct. 9, I might have to. That night the Apollo Theater, in conjunction with the 56th New York Film Festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, was once again in all its splendor as it hosted the U.S. premiere of “If Beale Street Could Talk.” If you are familiar with the title, you understand why it is such a big deal. If not, let’s commence with the briefing.
On the heels of reaching the absolute zenith of the motion picture industry, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture for directing “Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins is back at it in a major way. Not only is he competing with his own success, but also his latest project is a feature film adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
Kamilah Forbes, Apollo Theater executive producer, at the prospect of hosting the premiere offered, “The Apollo Theater is thrilled to partner with the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Annapurna to premiere this important work in the community in which it was filmed.”
In his introduction of the film, a noticeably excited and jovial Jenkins expounded, “James Baldwin was born and raised in Harlem. [‘Beale Street’] was set in Harlem. It was filmed in Harlem. The first time it was shown in the U.S. had to be in Harlem.”
Not to go into specific artistic merits of the project, I will say impeccable work from Stephan James, Colman Domingo, Michael Beach and Brian Tyree Henry, but the work put in by Teyonah Parris and Regina King will give you that Florida Evans throw down a bowl “Damn, Damn, Damn” feeling. Having said that, newcomer KiKi Layne just might steal hearts as well as stealing the show. So yeah, the “KiKi do you love me? Are you riding?” hook just got a new lease on life. Now I’ll be humming along.
With the smoke settling on the film, the next major event in the hallowed halls is right around the corner with Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud at 50, a one-night-only concert produced by the Apollo Theater and curated by musical director and multi-Grammy Award winner Christian McBride. The concert Oct. 20, 2018, at 8 p.m. celebrates the music that helped to propel the Black Power Movement forward and honors the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, as well as contemporary artists who continue to champion Black pride. For this performance, McBride assured a funky good time with an all-star band, featuring Pee Wee Ellis, a co-writer with James Brown of “Say It Loud: I’m Black and I’m Proud”; Fred Wesley; and Robert “Mousey” Thompson, all who performed with Brown’s band The JB’s. Additional members of the band include Frank Greene, Lee Hogans, Steve Wilson, Rodney Jones, Eric Krasno, Katreese Barnes, Nikki Glaspie, Gabu Lugo and background vocalists Janice Pendarvis, Tawatha Agee and Keith Fluitt. The event will be hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Joining the band will be special guest vocalist Lisa Fischer, Nona Hendryx and Avery*Sunshine.
Like the Yankees, we over and out. Unlike my boys though, I’ll be back next week, not next April. Until then, enjoy the nightlife.