Film Screening: Double Feature

Thursday, February 9: 7 p.m. -

In celebration of Black History Month, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will present a special film series, “Double Exposure: African American Music on Film,” which will highlight the central role of African Americans in the history of rock and roll. For this evening, we will feature two films about groundbreaking musicians.

St. Louis Blues (1929)

Runtime: 16 minutes

A short film featuring blues legend Bessie Smith (inducted 1989) and an all African-American cast. W.C. Handy, the author of the song, was the musical director of  the film. It is the only known film of Bessie Smith.

The Godmother of Rock and Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe (2011)

Runtime: 60 minutes

A documentary by Mick Csáky about the life, music and influence of the African-American gospel singer and guitar virtuoso Sister Rosetta Tharpe. During the 40s, 50s and 60s Sister Rosetta Tharpe played a key role in the creation of Rock & Roll, inspiring some of its greatest stars. The flamboyant gospel superstar, with her spectacular virtuosity on the newly electrified guitar, was one of the most important singer-musicians of the 20th Century, acknowledged as a major influence not only on generations of black musicians including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Isaac Hayes and Etta James, but also on white stars like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. Contributors include Chris Barber, Joe Boyd, Willa Ward, and Howard Carol.

Gayle Wald, Professor of English at George Washington University and author of Shout Sister Shout: The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe will lead a discussion of the film.

This event is free with a reservation.  Please email education@rockhall.org or call the Education Department at 216.515.8426.

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