UC Berkeley Library

African American Literature & the Arts

The Directors. The Films of Spike Lee.

Through in-depth interviews, behind the scenes footage and clips from his films, Spike Lee talks about the ideas, influences, motivations, struggles and successes behind his work. "I have been blessed with the opportunity to express the views of black people who otherwise don't have access to power and the media. I have to take advantage of that while I am still bankable." 1997. 60 min.

The Legend of Bop City.

From 1950 to 1965, an after-hours jazz club called Jimbo's Bop City became an emblem of the spirit and vitality of African-American society, local and world-wide. Located in San Francisco's legendary Fillmore District, Bop City hosted jazz legends Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. c1998. 52 min. [preservation copy]

The Original Kings of Comedy

Directed by Spike Lee. Features: Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Bernie Mac. Documentary capturing four major African American stand-up comedians. Filmed in Charlotte North Carolina during their "Kings of Comedy" tour, they crack jokes about race, sex, families and human responses. Includes backstage footage and interviews. 2000. 115 min.

To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: A Portrait of Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words

Uses excerpts from the letters, diaries, and plays of the late writer Lorraine Hansberry to show her struggle for recognition as a black writer and artist. 90 min.

Toni Morrison.

Readings from Morrison's novel, Beloved. Morrison also talks about the writing process. 52 min.

Toni Morrison: A Conversation with Toni Morrison.

Morrison reads from her two novels, Beloved and Jazz and discusses her views of the contributions made to American literature by the experiences of African Americans. 25 min.
web web sites: Description from California Newsreel catalogFull-text review from: ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries

Why We Laugh

Celebrates African-American comedians and their cultural influence on American society. Includes performances, interviews, and insights from some of the most celebrated and outspoken comedians of all time.

Wild Women Don't Have the Blues.

The story of Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Ida Cox, and other pioneering women blues singers. This film recreates the stories of these women who left an indelible mark on the music world. 58 min.
web web sites: Description from California Newsreel catalogFull-text review from: ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries

[Baldwin, James] James Baldwin.[Sound recording]

This collection of James Baldwin's speeches, talks and readings includes rare recordings made between 1962 and 1968, one of the most turbulent periods in American history. Disc 1. After the murder of four children (September 25, 1963) -- Men and women in the arts concerned with Vietnam (March 16, 1968) -- Talk at the San Francisco Masonic Auditorium (1961). Disc 2. The artist's struggle for integrity (September 1962) -- Short stories: readings from his second novel, "Giovanni's Room" (October, 1963) -- Interview with James Baldwin by Elsa Knight Thompson & John Leonard (May 7, 1963).

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