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Mar 31

WJF 2021: Final Revival of Opal & Nev with Dawnie Walton and Nona Hendryx

March 31 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Join us for a musical performance by Nona Hendryx and a dynamic conversation with Dawnie Walton author of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev.

Join the Schomburg for our annual Women’s Jazz Festival during Women’s History Month, as we reimagined it for a virtual space to celebrate Black women in music. Throughout the month, we will explore with scholars, performers, and literary figures, the wide array of contributions by Black women to the music industry. Each program will begin with a musical performance then proceed into dynamic conversations with authors of some of the most exciting work on music today. #WJF2021

NEW WORKS OF FICTION

Dawnie Walton‘s skills as a music journalist shine in this exquisite debut novel, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev about the fictional oral history of a beloved rock ’n’ roll duo who shot to fame in 1970s New York, and the dark, fraught secret that lies at the peak of their stardom. Walton will discuss her fiction debut with author and host of the podcast Black Girl Songbook, Danyel Smith, following a special performance by Nona Hendryx.

Fans know Hendryx as a founding member of the girl group, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles (with Sarah Dash, Cindy Birdsong and Patti LaBelle). In the 70s, the group morphed into the Rock & Funk Glam Diva’s ‘Labelle’ with the #1 record, Lady Marmalade. Nona Hendryx emerged as the chief songwriter of the group’s socially conscious and illuminating message songs. If Labelle fans grieved the end of Labelle, Nona Hendryx fans welcomed a new one as the revolutionary art-rock, new-wave goddess embarked upon her own impressive solo career.

About the Book

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.

In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.

This program will be streamed on Zoom and simulcast to Youtube. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided.

GET THE BOOK | Readers everywhere who wish to pre-order the book can do so online at The Schomburg Shop. A limited number of signed copies will be available. All proceeds benefit The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS

Dawnie Walton is the author of the novel The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, a “spectacular debut” (Publisher’s Weekly, starred review). Her work as a fiction writer and journalist explores identity, place, and the influence of pop culture. A MacDowell Colony fellow (2015), a Tin House Scholar (2017), and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (MFA, 2018), she has worked as an executive-level editor for magazine and multimedia brands including Essence, Entertainment Weekly, Getty Images, and LIFE. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, she lives in Brooklyn.

Danyel Smith is the author of the forthcoming Shine Bright: A Personal History of Black Women in Pop (One World / Random House, May, 2021). The former editor of Billboard magazine, Smith is also the former editor-in-chief of VIBE. She has previously written for Rolling Stone, ESPN and NPR.

Nona Hendryx In the spirit of two fisted political singer songwriters such as, Nina Simone, and Joni Mitchell, Nona Hendryx tackles social issues, love and politics with a smoky vocal tessitura somewhere between funk and the end of the stratosphere. Hendryx’s legendary career spans six decades of sound and style evolution. Read more here.

GET THE BOOK | Readers everywhere who wish to pre-order the book can do so online at The Schomburg Shop. A limited number of signed copies will be available. All proceeds benefit The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

This program will be streamed on Zoom and simulcast to Youtube. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided.

PRESS | Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc) at least 24-hours before the day of the program to Amy Geduldig at amygeduldig@nypl.org.

PUBLIC NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER

This Program uses a third-party website link. By clicking on the third-party website link, you will leave NYPL’s website and enter a website not operated by NYPL. We encourage you to review the privacy policies of every third-party website or service that you visit or use, including those third parties with whom you interact with through our Library services. For more information about these third-party links, please see the section of NYPL’s Privacy Policy describing “Third-Party Library Services Providers” at https://www.nypl.org/help/about-nypl/legal-notices/privacy-policy.

During this Program, you will be using third-party platforms such as Zoom and Youtube, for the purpose of communication. This service may collect some personally identifying information about you, such as name, username, email address, & password. This service will treat the information it collects about you pursuant to its own privacy policy.

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