Students’ film traces history, influence of Grand Rapids’ African-American music scene

Thursday showing at Celebration Cinema North

The singer Little Wolf is one of the Grand Rapids musicians featured in the film (courtesy photo)

A student-produced film on the history of black musicians in Grand Rapids will be shown Thursday, May 10 at Celebration Cinema North, as well as on Xfinity On Demand cable TV beginning the same day. “Rhythm and Race: A History of African American Music in Grand Rapids” was created by Grand Rapids Public Schools students in the after-school video production studio at the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT).

The film examines how the local black music scene influenced social justice and helped advance equity for African Americans. Premiered last year, it has since added an interview with Curtis Rodgers, cofounder of the Grand Land Recording Company, the first record company to sign Grand Rapids-raised soul and gospel star Al Green.

The free 6:30 p.m. screening will be followed by a panel discussion of the WMCAT student production team and teaching artist Mike Saunders. Register to attend here.

Students in the WMCAT after-school video production program created a documentary on African-American music in Grand Rapids (courtesy photo)
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio.

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