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In the 1950s, California-born jazz vocalist Joyce Bryant had what it took to be a star: a velvet-smooth voice and stunning sex appeal that earned her the nickname “the black Marilyn Monroe.” But while these attributes propelled her to fame in nightclubs and magazines, she struggled with discrimination, censorship, debt, drug addiction, and, as a devout Christian, religious guilt. In his still-in-progress documentary Joyce Bryant: The Lost Diva, Jim Byers, host of WPFW-FM’s Latin Flavor, attempts to trace the film and music industry’s erasure of the silver-haired chanteuse. He unveils segments of his film tonight as part of the D.C. Music Salon series, and explores how the bronze bombshell, once called the “voice you’ll always remember,” was so easily forgotten.
The presentation begins at 7 p.m. at Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Library, 1630 7th St. NW. Free.