Summer of Music: Say Amen, Somebody

Dir. George T. Nierenberg (1982) 100 min.

This film documents the lives of since departed gospel stars, innovators of the genre from which soul, r&b, and even hip hop flowed. At center are “Professor” Thomas A. Dorsey and “Mother” Willie Mae Ford, who recall the conservative resistance they faced towards the rhythm and blues inflections of the “new” gospel music they wrote and performed. Say Amen, Somebody foretells the next cycle of growth exhibited by the evening’s live performers - the energetic R&B infused choir of the First Corinthian Baptist Church. Yet “Say Amen, Somebody” transcends it’s historical import as a masterful example of cinema verite: director George Nierenberg communicates personal and cultural histories by interweaving his subjects in informal conversation, recollection, listening to and performing music under the careful eyes of cinematographers Don Lenzer and Ed Lachman.

Music: 7:00 pm - First Corinthian Baptist Church Choirs

Film Screening: @ 8:30 pm

Brought to you by the Maysles Cinema, Target ® and the Historic Harlem Parks Coalition