Motown star Diana Ross made her film debut in 1972 as Bille Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues.
That was 50 years ago. To celebrate, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will screen the film to open the Detroit Black Film Festival.
Now in its third year, the festival will feature 86 films from 14 countries including 12 made by metro Detroit filmmakers. The festival runs from Sept. 21-25.
Opening night begins at 5 p.m. with a reception with the filmmakers, followed by several short film screenings and the showing of Lady Sings the Blues.
The film is a biographical drama about jazz singer Billie Holiday and also stars Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, James T. Callahan, and Scatman Crothers. Ross was emerging as a solo artist after years with the Supremes when filming for the movie began and its soundtrack (unsurprisingly) became a hit. Ross and Williams both won NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Motion Picture for their performances.
“It’s a renowned classic with brilliant performances that made it to the big screen because of Motown,” festival co-founder Marshalle Favors said about the movie in a press release.
The festival is supported by the Wright Museum, the Carr Center, the City of Detroit Office of Arts Culture & Entrepreneurship, Y Arts Detroit, the Motown Museum, and Yum Village.
Film screenings during the festival take place between the Wright Museum and the Marlene Boll Theater inside the Downtown Detroit YMCA. Virtual screenings will also be available.
More information and tickets are available via Eventbrite.