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Soundies and the Changing Image of Black Americans on Screen One Dime at a Time with Susan Delson
March 20 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Join author Susan Delson and musician Gwen Laster for a conversation about Susan’s new book, Soundies and the Changing Image of Black Americans on Screen One Dime at a Time.
Register HERE to join the Crowdcast event.
About the Book
In the 1940s, folks at bars and restaurants would gather around a Panoram movie machine to watch three-minute films called Soundies, precursors to today’s music videos. This history was all but forgotten until the digital era brought Soundies to phones and computer screens–including a YouTube clip starring a 102-year-old Harlem dancer watching her younger self perform in Soundies.
In Soundies and the Changing Image of Black Americans on Screen: One Dime at a Time, Susan Delson takes a deeper look at these fascinating films by focusing on the role of Black performers in this little-known genre. She highlights the women performers, like Dorothy Dandridge, who helped shape Soundies, while offering an intimate look at icons of the age, such as Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole. Using previously unknown archival materials–including letters, corporate memos, and courtroom testimony–to trace the precarious path of Soundies, Delson presents an incisive pop-culture snapshot of race relations during and just after World War II.
Perfect for readers interested in film, American history, the World War II era, and Black entertainment history, Soundies and the Changing Image of Black Americans on Screen and its companion video website (susandelson.com/video/) bring the important contributions of these Black artists into the spotlight once again.
Susan Delson is the author of Dudley Murphy, Hollywood Wild Card, and editor of Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals. Her writings on art and culture appear in the Wall Street Journal and other publications. She is an arts journalist and film historian based in New York City.
Gwen Laster is a nationally acclaimed musician, composer, arranger, and orchestrator, and scholar of African- American musical heritage. She is a socially conscious activist and educator who understands the power of music to reach and touch everyday people.
Purchase your copy of the book HERE from Split Rock Books