PAFF 2015 Review: Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swing With The Band

PAFF 2015 Review:  Mary Lou Williams:  The Lady Who Swing With The Band

Directed by Carol bush and Executive Produced by Stanley Nelson (who directed Black Panthers:  Vanguards of the Revolution), Mary Lou Williams:  The Lady Who Swings with the Band takes on the journey of what what was like to be a female musician in the 30's, 40' & 50's, what happens to genius when not nurtured properly and that the old adage of "lighter is better" was alive and well.

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The Season of Documentaries

In a summer where blockbusters and sequels tend to dominate the box office, this summer is shedding the light on some very interesting documentaries that I have had to the opportunity to screen and review.  I am taking this opportunity to remind you all about these extraordinary films and encouraging you to check them out at a theatre near you.  You can also check out the reviews of them all right here on CarlaRenatasCorner.Image THE GIRLS IN THE BAND has been extended for its sixth week in Laemmle Theatrers in Southern California and has developed an unwavering flow of loyal followers!  Director Judy Chaiken chronicles the desires of many women who endured racism, prejudice from their male counterparts and in some instances their own families to pursue the first love of their lives...playing music.  You can order a copy of the film and obtain more info about the film at

20 FEET FROM STARDOM sheds light on the world of background singers who are striving to get the solo careers of the stars they back up and never quite get to center stage.  The film focuses on Lisa Fischer, Darlene Love, Judith Hill and Merry Clayton.  Each one of these women are brilliant vocal stylists who deserved to be megastars, but due to limitations in a youth driven industry the stars were slowly but surely dimmed.  The soundtrack is toe-tapping and makes you want to dance right there in the movie theaters. 20 FEET FROM STARDOM is playing across the country in limited release.

DARK GIRLS, the new documentary directed by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry, delves into the taboo subject of dark skin vs light skin within the African-American community.  It has caused quite a stir to say the least.  So much so, that the duo is working on yet another taboo subject "light skin vs dark skin" called The Yellow Brick Road.  In addition, D. Channsin Berry is tackling the issue of gays in the church, "The Church House".  These men are brilliant and in the process of ruffling feathers are encouraging invigorating heated conversations within the African-American community.  Looking forward to even more from these guys.

Right on the heels of Wimbledon is the ESPN produced and Ava DuVernay directed VENUS VS.  As a young black woman with a desire to play tennis, Venus Williams was already working the odds against her.  VENUS VS sheds even more light on her personal and professional struggle, as well as, her struggle to obtain more pay for female players in general at Wimbledon.  It made me want to run out and get tennis lessons...LOL.

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!