Her Voice: Black Women From The Spotlight To The Screen

Chris Olson

Chris Olson

Tuesday, 20 April 2021, 10:15:04 UTC

Her Voice: Black Women From The Spotlight To The Screen

BFI Southbank, 17 May – 30 June 2021


The BFI today announce full details of a new season, HER VOICE: BLACK WOMEN FROM THE SPOTLIGHT TO THE SCREEN, running at BFI Southbank from 17 May – 30 June. Programmed by curator, writer and researcher Karen Alexander, the season will celebrate black female performers whose talents have been a major inspiration for musicians and audiences globally; women known for their vocal performances who have adapted their talents to film, such as Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and Diana Ross, as well as those who are depicted in illuminating documentary portraits, including Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald.


The season will include films such as the first feature to star a black woman, Josephine Baker in SIREN OF THE TROPICS (Mario Nalpas, Henri Étiévant, 1927), and the joyful 1940s musical STORMY WEATHER (Andrew L Stone, 1942) featuring an all-black cast, led by the luminous Lena Horne. Also screening will be THE WIZ (Sidney Lumet, 1978), starring Diana Ross, SPARKLE (Salim Akil, 2021), featuring the last screen role from Whitney Houston, and WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT (Brian Gibson, 1993) starring Angela Bassett as Tina Turner, in an Oscar-nominated role.


Music documentaries about the life and work of performers who refused to let personal setbacks and systemic barriers hold them back will include AMAZING GRACE (Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack, 2018), WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME (Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal, 2017), ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS (Leslie Woodhead, 2019), ...BUT THEN, SHE’S BETTY CARTER (Michelle Parkerson, 1980) and many more. Across the years from STORMY WEATHER (Andrew L Stone, 1942) to TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM (Morgan Neville, 2013) there’s an invisible bond of recognition and sisterhood that links the rich legacy of those who went before to those who followed; HER VOICE will celebrate that legacy, and the performers who used their talent not only to entertain and comment but also to enrich and transform the entertainment industry and those around them.


Her Voice: Black Women From the Spotlight to the Screen is at BFI Southbank from 17 May – 30 June. Tickets on sale from 3 May; bfi.org.uk/whatson