Dancing in September

Director: Reggie Rock Bythewood
Screenwriters: Reggie Rock Bythewood

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


Gil Scott Heron said, "The Revolution will not be televised." That was before Dancing in September. Reggie Rock Bythewood's exceptional first feature is a current, uncompromising, and brilliantly scathing look at racism in the television industry. With comedy, sentiment, and penetrating intelligence, Bythewood perfectly articulates the situation of our times.

As a child, Tommy Crawford saw the power of the miniseries Roots quell her parents constant arguing and make her daddy cry. It is at that moment she becomes determined to create television shows that portray black people realistically. Twenty years later, Tommy \*(Nicole Ari Parker)\** is a television writer moving up the ranks of the black sitcom world amidst network boycotts from civil rights organization CPAA. When she is fired for speaking out against racist characterizations on a show she works on, she pitches a new project, "Just Us," to ambitious black WPIX network executive, George Washington \*(Isaiah Washington).\** Sparks fly and they fall in love as they ride the waves of the show's success. However, their happiness and prosperity are threatened when the pressure to keep ratings up tests their love, values, and personal integrity.

The beautiful Nicole Ari Parker and Isaiah Washington deliver spot-on performances and Earth, Wind, and Fire provide the nostalgic soundtrack in this intelligent romantic drama. Full of irony and charm, Dancing in September delivers an impressive and incisive examination of black nationalism and an anatomy of ethical deterioration in one entertaining package that keeps it very real.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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