"Rejoice & Shout" Gospel Music Documentary Opens in NYC Friday 6/3!!
Last night, I attended the movie screening for a compelling documentary titled, “Rejoice & Shout”. The film was produced Deep Rivers production company and released through Magnolia Pictures. It chronicles the history of Gospel Music in America and provides profound perspective into how it has directly served as the foundation of African American society. The evening began with a brief introduction by those sponsoring the event. Reverend Floyd Flake of Greater Allen Cathedral in Queens, NY was in attendance as well as other known clergy from the tri-state area. A great local men’s chorale named “Manifest” graced us with an acapella selection right before the film began.
The film is narrated by R&B legend Smokey Robinson, Andrae Crouch, Mavis Staples, Ira Tucker Sr., Ira Tucker Jr., Willa Ward (of the Clara Ward Singers), and a a few of authors and historians in the gospel music genre. Unfortunately, due to some structural damage at the theater we were unable to finish watching the documentary. However, we were able to see about an hour or so of the film. What I saw was riveting, soul stirring, inspiring, and educational. It gave me time to reflect on how intricately gospel music has shaped the African American experience as well as American society at large. It featured pioneers such as Thomas A.Dorsey, Legendary Quartet groups, Clara Ward, Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and more. It also featured more contemporary figures. The film was set to be followed by a Q&A session to be moderated by BET.COM’s Torrence Glenn, but because of the unforseen circumstances we were unable to remain at the venue. The screening also featured a mini-concert sponsored by Bishop Hezekiah Walker and Stanley Brown featuring Leandria Johnson (Sunday Best winner season 3). Although she didnt have a microphone, track, accompaniment, or anything else deemed standard for a performance these days; Leandria graciously sang a gospel favorite “I Won’t Complain”. She did it acapella on the balcomy area in the venue. Those in attedance stayed around and were definitely blessed by her gift.
All in all it was a wonderful and inspiring evening and the movie is set to open this Friday June 3rd, 2011 at the Film Forum at 209 W. Houston St. N.Y., N.Y. If you can support it and you live in the tri-state area make your way out this weekend. This is a wonderful body of work that highlights Gospel Music, which we all love! Let’s make an impact and help it do well , so that it can get to other cities. Let’s spread the word!