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Virtual Film Screening: Digging For Weldon Irvine April 8-9, 2021 on BLKDOCS.com. by Larry Reni Thomas
(Published: March 31, 2021)

The year was 1969, and although the Civil Rights Movement was at its tail end, its most profound anthem, Nina Simone's electrifying "Young, Gifted and Black," would light up the airwaves, and the hearts and minds of a Black populace anxious for greater change and uplift. The prolific musician and composer Weldon Irvine penned this civil rights anthem that celebrated both the rousing work of prolific artists like Lorraine Hansberry and the potential of future Black leaders.

Irvine was Simone's creative director, a brilliant pianist, a fearless playwright, and mentor to generations of jazz, funk and hip hop musicians, yet his legendary story has largely gone untold, until now.

Through rare archival footage and in-depth conversations with Irvine's contemporaries, collaborators and family, "Digging For Weldon Irvine" unearths his visionary contributions and dedication to Black liberation and expression.

Award-winning director Victorious DeCosta ("Dirty Hearts") brings a befitting and timely examination to the life and legacy of Irvine, whose work drew appreciation from the likes of Freddie Hubbard and Nina Simone to Mos Def and Q-Tip.

Irvine's bountiful and socio-culturally evocative work in music and theater was central to the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s, and was integral to hip hop from its inception through its golden era of consciousness and heavy jazz-laden sampling, and whose dedicated mentorship sparked a movement in his long-time residence of Jamaica/St. Albans, Queens, helping develop some of the most well-known figures in modern-day jazz.

"Our virtual screening of "Digging..." takes place on the 19th anniversary of Mr. Irvine's death," remarks Christopher Everett, co-founder of BLK Docs, "And so we desired to celebrate Irvine's legacy, alongside celebrating the growing career of filmmaker Victorious De Costa, whose bridging of community activism and deft storytelling, should be seen by as many audiences as possible."

The BLK Docs screening of "Digging For Weldon Irvine" runs from April 8th starting at 5 pm through April 9th and can be seen via their virtual screening room at FilmFestivalFlix.com

On April 9th at 7 pm, BLK Docs will host an extra-special live Q&A conversation for "Digging For Weldon Irvine" with De Costa and executive producer and jazz musician Joey "G-Clef" Cavaseno, moderated by freelance arts journalist and cultural critic Shannon Ali. The Q&A can be seen on the YouTube page for BLK Docs, where audiences can also ask questions live.

2019/USA/111 minutes
Directed by Victorious De Costa
Who is Weldon Irvine? He's perhaps the most creative writer/pianist/arranger/composer you've probably never heard of. But with his deep influence on the Black Arts Movement, the evolution of hip-hop, and the development of some of the most well-known figures in modern jazz, "Digging For Weldon Irvine" explores how prolific the man who penned Nina Simone's electrifying civil rights anthem "Young, Gifted and Black" was, and how relentlessly he strived to reinvent himself within an unforgiving and seldomly reciprocal industry.

Contact: Curtis John blkdocs20@gmail.com www.BLKDOCS.com
tel. 347-560-3379

More Information: https://www.BLKDOCS.com

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