Mavis Staples grew up in Chicago, the daughter of Southern parents. Her father, Roebuck “Pops” Staples was steeped in the gospel and blues traditions and shared his love of music with his son Pervis and daughters Cleotha, Yvonne and Mavis.
In the early 1950’s the family formed a group, touring the Midwest and later venturing into Southern states. Even as a young teen, Mavis quickly became the group’s frontwoman. Her charisma and raw vocal power, combined with Pop’s unique guitar style, allowed the Staples to craft an electrifying combination of Blues and Gospel.
They had a string of hits in the 60s that influenced the new generation of young folk musicians such as Bob Dylan. As the civil rights movement began to gather steam, the Staple Singers were at the forefront of the sound with classics such as "Long Walk to D.C.". Their hits continued on the Stax label with "I’ll Take You There" and "Respect Yourself" making the Staple Singers one of the first acts with fans across the racial divide.
In the years since the Staple Singers, Mavis has continued to be a vital force in American popular music, constantly touring and collaborating with the likes of Prince and in more recent years, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. For her debut feature, Jessica Edwards manages to straddle the past and present to offer up a fulsome portrait of a woman who is as inspirational as she is talented.
27 Dec - 17 Jan
With a chart-topping career spanning over 60 years, the legendary soul singer Mavis Staples is a woman who shows no signs of slowing down. A performer since her teens, her career is the stuff of music legend. Director Jessica Edwards’ Mavis! offers an unguarded and joyous view into a woman whose voice defined a generation, helped break the racial divide and continues to bring joy everywhere she goes.