1 Million Fans and Followers:      
Search Jobs | Submit News
Wednesday, January 7, 2015

When African Americans Came To Paris — Launch of Part 2 Video Series Celebrates Expatriate Stars

— New DVD set examines the lives of Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet, and Langston Hughes —

When African Americans Came to Paris Part Two

DVD Cover

Paris, France — Following up on the outstanding success of the first DVD set of WHEN AFRICAN AMERICANS CAME TO PARIS, Blue Lion Films and Walking the Spirit Tours now present PART 2, THE STARS. This 3-episode sequel by award-winning filmmaker Joanne Burke plunges viewers into the fervour and fury of the Roaring 20’s through the lens of the reinvented lives in Paris of entertainer Josephine Baker, musician Sidney Bechet, poet Langston Hughes and fellow Harlem Renaissance writers.

Blue Lion Films producer Joanne Burke digs deep in this 2nd series and reveals new insight into the lives, work and influence of these artists. Little known when they arrived, Baker and Bechet would become cultural idols to the French, while young writers Hughes, Claude McKay, and others formed close bonds with key African and Afro-Caribbean intellectuals in Paris, and became a catalyst to a cross-fertilization of Diaspora writers.

Burke comments, “Coming from segregated audiences in America, talents such as Josephine Baker and Sidney Bechet were finally free to perform as equals among their French counterparts. This sense of liberation unleashed a wellspring of creative expression among African Americans in the arts. Paris welcomed them with open arms and their achievements are treasured to this day in both cultures.”

As Julia Browne adds, “Besides their remarkable cultural achievements, they gave for the betterment of others. Josephine Baker became a decorated Free French Résistance hero in World II and championed for racial equality. Sidney Bechet mentored fledgling French jazz musicians. In the end, the French considered them more as French than American.”

About The Producers:
Joanne Burke was a top documentary film editor for CBS, NBC, and PBS for twenty years; edited three feature films for Sidney Lumet, co-edited Gimme Shelter, and has produced 10 independent documentaries with her husband David Burke, a former writer/producer for CBS News’ 60 Minutes and author of Writers in Paris, Literary Lives in the City of Light. Long-time Paris residents, they are now completing the hour-length documentary Paris Noir, African Americans in the City of Light, due for release in the spring of 2015.

Julia Browne is CEO and Founder of Walking The Spirit Tours (www.walkingthespirit.com), the original tours of Black Paris. Julia and her team connect travelers to Black Paris and traditional France through exciting educational walking and bus tours, personalized itineraries and full trip planning services.


The films can be readily integrated to classes in history, education, African-American Studies, French Studies, American Studies, and Literary Studies. The lengths of these three documentaries run from 12 to 15 minutes.

Illustrious specialists appearing in the films are: Richard Powell, Tyler Stovall, Terri Francis, and Bennetta Jules-Rosette for Josephine Baker; Rashida Braggs, Sebastien Vidal, Archie Shepp, and Robert O’Meally for Sidney Bechet; and Brent Hayes Edwards, Jennifer Wilks, Mamadou Diouf, Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Jake Lamar, and Tyler Stovall for Langston Hughes and the writers.

For the full details, to purchase and/or to view a trailer of When African Americans Came to Paris – Part 2: The Stars, visit www.africanamericansinparis.com

Julia Browne