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Black Voices, Black Lives – Patrinell: The Total Experience

October 11, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

A special evening of films focused on the courage of local, national, and global Black Voices and Black Lives. Local documentary feature Patrinell: A Total Experience is an ode to legendary civil rights leader and singer Patrinell Wright, whose powerful voice is the staying and beautiful sound of courage, accompanying viewers through the local history of Seattle’s Black community and the gentrification of the Central District.

Join us for a post-film discussion moderated with community experts and film makers.

Patrinell: The Total Experience

Seattle was a rude awakening for singer Patrinell Wright when she moved here from East Texas in 1964 – far from the bastion of racial tolerance she’d expected. But she did have musical talent, deep faith, and unstoppable drive, which she channeled into founding the Total Experience Gospel Choir, building it into an internationally recognized pillar of Seattle’s black community.

She was not without opposition. Church leaders gave her flak for singing in nightclubs, and then years later for her ordination.

By 1977, the Choir was touring the country and – eventually – the globe. Generous home-movie footage shows the choir’s shrinking, aging, and whitening over its 45 years, a transformation that played out against the Central District’s similar gentrification. Although Wright finally retired the choir in 2018, Patrinell remains as a loving testament to her extraordinary career and the joy and spiritual solace her music brought to thousands.

(Tia Young, Andrew Elizaga, 94 min, USA)

General Admission: $15 | Senior/Student/Low-Income: $10 | BUY TICKETS

Screens with:

Unburied (Sally Fenaux Barleycorn, 6 min, Spain)

The Central Mediterranean is considered to be the deadliest migration route in the world; since 2014 more than 14,500 people have died trying to reach a safe port. Hundreds continue to die monthly. Spanish and Italian governments have started prosecuting and forbidding navigation to any organizations that try to save lives. Our brothers and sisters keep dying. The seas of the world are filled with black bodies.

Shadow Life: Shining Through Colorism and Depression (Miranda Kahn, 6 min, USA)

“Shadow Life: Shining Through Colorism and Depression” is a short documentary that cuts between interview footage of Shaina Simmons, a young woman who has struggled with mental illness, and stop motion animated shadow puppets which tell her story. Shaina is a young performing artist who grew up in New Orleans and suffered from colorism and racism which led to anxiety and depression. With extraordinary strength and clarity, Shaina explains her degrading youthful experiences and through Miranda Kahn’s lyrical puppetry, we come to understand how deeply our perceptions of someone can change how they perceive themselves.

Kahn’s visuals are both specific and lyrical, juxtaposing black silhouettes with bright saturated colors.


October 11, 2019
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Northwest African American Museum
2300 S Massachusetts Street
Seattle, WA 98144 United States
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(206) 518-6000