African American Music Appreciation Month

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter declared June African American Music Appreciation Month and we’ve been celebrating it ever since.

Now that June has returned, let’s focus on this week’s quiz on which movies have featured that same music, in all of its many and varied genres, and which artists and actors have brought it to the big screen.

1. True or false: Diana Ross, Andra Day and Audra McDonald all received Oscar nominations for portraying legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday in, respectively, “Lady Sings the Blues,” “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” and “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar”. and grill.

2. Speaking of the Oscars, Duke Ellington was the first African-American to be nominated for Best Original Score for 1961’s “Paris Blues,” about two American jazz musicians in France and the women they love. Louis Armstrong and pianist Aaron Bridgers play characters and perform music in the film, but the four leads are Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Diahann Carroll, and which actor had his own Oscar milestone three years later?

3. In 2021, Aretha Franklin’s handpicked choice Jennifer Hudson portrayed the late queen of soul in the biopic “Respect.” But three years earlier, Franklin had been the subject of a “lost” documentary concert film chronicling the recording of his 1972 album with the same title as the film. what was that?

4. The 1985 musical comedy-drama “Krush Groove” was a fictionalized version of the life of producer and Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons. Which of the following hip-hop groups did NOT appear in the film: the Beastie Boys, the Fat Boys or Heavy D & the Boyz?

5. Prince has starred in three (narrative) musical films — “Purple Rain,” “Under the Cherry Moon” and “Graffiti Bridge” — but only one was written and directed by the Minneapolis-born superstar. Which?

6. This year’s Best Documentary Oscar winner, “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Couldn’t Be Televised),” followed another Oscar winner, 1970s “Woodstock,” as films chronicling iconic music festivals. In fact, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held on one of the same weekends as the six-weekend “Summer of Soul” Harlem Cultural Festival. They join other festival documentaries, “Monterey Pop” and “Wattstax”, both inducted into the National Film Registry. But which of the four films featured Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire?

seven. Lena Horne starred in two landmark 1943 musicals featuring all-black actors, “Cabin in the Sky” and “Stormy Weather.” The latter was loosely based on the life and dancing, singing, and acting career of its male lead. Name it.

8. The fictional jazz band fronted by Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s 1990 “Mo’ Better Blues,” the Bleek Gilliam Quintet, includes Wesley Snipes as Shadow Henderson (saxophone), Giancarlo Esposito as Left Hand Lacey ( piano), Jeff “Tain” Watts as Rhythm Jones (drums) and Bill Nunn as Bottom Hammer (bass). What instrument did Gilliam of Washington play?

9. Motown singing group the Supremes inspired 1981’s best musical “Dreamgirls” and its Oscar-winning 2006 film adaptation. But there was an earlier film from 1976 influenced by the Diana Ross trio that had a 2012 remake. featuring Whitney Houston’s final role in a feature film. What is the title?

ten. Which movie does NOT feature an appearance by musical royalty Ray “The Genius” Charles: “The Blues Brothers”, “Ray”, “Love Affair”, “Georgia on My Mind”, “Spy Hard” or “The Extreme Adventures of Great Dave”?


1. Fake. Ross and Day were nominated for Oscars, but McDonald picked up her record-breaking sixth Tony Award for “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” and later an Emmy Award for the filmed television version.

2. Sidney Poitier

3. “Amazing Grace”

4. Heavy D and the Boyz

5. “Graffiti Bridge” (He directed “Under the Cherry Moon” but didn’t write it)

6. “Monterrey Pop”

seven. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson

8. Trumpet (voiced by Terence Blanchard)

9. “Sparkled”

ten. As far as we know, there is no feature film named “Georgia on My Mind”.

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