Growing up as a young child, I used to listen my beloved grandmother's stories about her days working as the only African American female barber at a barbershop in DC's U Street Corridor. She also shared with me her fond memories of hanging out after work at the various night clubs where she'd go dancing or check out shows featuring music icons like Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Blanche Calloway. Granny's stories always gave me goosebumps!
Years later I stumbled upon a Washington Post article that talked about how from the 1910s to the 1950s, DC's U street corridor was known as "Black Broadway", a phrase coined by the late actress/singer, Pearl Bailey. Miss Pearl actually jumpstarted her career at the black clubs on U Street like the Crystal Caverns, Jungle Inn and Republic Gardens where Granny used to hang out. Immediately, I was extremely inspired to learn that during this era the U Street community aka "Black Broadway" was the cultural and intellectual hub for African American educators, business owners, bankers, doctors, lawyers and iconic entertainers like Duke Ellington, Pearl Bailey, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Cab Calloway, among many others. I had no idea that all of this had taken place right in my own backyard.
I was totally blown away by this article! Suddenly, I felt that it was my duty as a 3rd generation Washingtonian to produce, tell and share this amazing story with the world!
ON LOCATION: "Black Broadway on U"
In 2014, Indigo Communications is bringing this story to "life" and is currently in-production on its first Transmedia (multimedia) project, "Black Broadway On U". Our project will serve as the "living book" for this under-told story about the incomparable success and accomplishments of African Americans living within DC's U Street corridor aka "Black Broadway" from the 1910s through 1950s...DC's cultural renaissance before, during and after The Harlem Renaissance.
We're in the production lab right now! The Indigo production team is producing the documentary trailer and creating the website for "Black Broadway on U". We will launch this exciting project in late February during Black History Month. STAY TUNED! In the interim, you can learn more about our "Black Broadway On U" project as well as keep up with our latest production endeavors via the project's social media pages.
SUPPORT: If you would like to donate and support the production of "Black Broadway On U" please visit: