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Quick Review: Must-See Doc “Rejoice & Shout” Now Streaming On Netflix

Quick Review: Must-See Doc "Rejoice & Shout" Now Streaming On Netflix

The poster for Rejoice & Shout really doesn’t do this thoroughly engaging documentary any justice. I was able to catch the Don McGlynn-directed doc this past Easter Sunday. Now, I haven’t gone to church in many months, and I don’t consider myself a religious individual, especially when it comes to organized religion.

I also didn’t grow up around Gospel music, although I’ve always been well aware of the genre, and I’m a big fan of Soul and Blues. Regardless, there could not have been a better way to spend my Sunday morning than watching Rejoice & Shout, which to my surprise was streaming on Netflix!

There are so many eye-opening aspects about the roots of Gospel music, which started with slave-sung Spirituals in the U.S. Southern plantations centuries back. What’s amazing is looking at the big picture. Because, although we know this, we don’t really give it the significance it deserves, maybe because we’re not actively conscious of it, or give it much thought.

The roots of American music: Soul, Blues, Rock n Roll to modern R&B and pop music lie in traditional African American Gospel music, and this documentary, in essence, explores that “bridging the gap.” Not only that, African Americans have crafted a singing style, with all its melody, falsettos, and rhythms that have inspired and influenced all music genres ALL OVER THE WORLD up until this day.

It’s definitely not solely a Black Church documentary, although the Black Church is most certainly explored through the music. Could it have focused more on the lives on these pioneer singers and their struggles? Perhaps. There’s a lot covered in this this doc though, which explores the past 200 years of African American music and what we know today as the Black Church.

Rejoice & Shout however, definitely focuses on highlighting the music; it almost feels like a musical. That’s not a bad thing; because there wasn’t a single performance showcased that I lost interest in or wanted to end. During the viewing I kept thinking, “I want this soundtrack!”

There are many fascinating historical records, images and early recordings featured: from the Spirituals and early hymns, harmony-based quartets, Soul music and the ultimate merging to today’s Hip Hop and Rap music told through Gospel icons like Mavis Staples and The Staple Singers, The Clara Ward Singers, The Dixie Hummingbirds, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Rejoice & Shout is historically poignant and culturally significant.  Aside from that, you’ll be genuinely inspired, moved and uplifted. So, head over to Netlix and watch it, if you haven’t by now.

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I felt the documentary was good in exploring the beginnings of gospel music; the foundation, as it were. I was particularly awed by the recording, the first recording done of a gospel group singing in barbershop quartet-style. I loved the highlights of those groups and the solo sista singers, particularly Rosetta Tharpe. Fascinating! What I didn't like about it was towards the end of the second act, where the 60s era of flower children and civil rights and war, etc. began in history, the film seemed to take a turn for "let's hurry up and finish this". I was surprised that they did not mention one of the best quartets in the history of gospel music: The Mighty Clouds of Joy. Their career spanned the 60s, 70s, and the 80s and not to mention they have one of the most favored and memorable gospel songs ever: "Walk Around Heaven All Day" sung by Paul Beasley! Obviously I am biased, but c'mon! They highlight Kirk Franklin and not the Mighty Clouds of Joy?! LOL Anyhoo, overall I DID enjoy the documentary. Just wish they could have included more…


Saw this documentary some time ago. Really enjoyed it. Well done.


"Now, I haven't gone to church in many months, and I don't consider myself a religious individual, especially when it comes to organized religion" ~by Vanessa Martinez. That's very interesting. Over the last 2 years of visiting S&A I've noticed that position seems to be the general consensus of Shadow and Act's writers and most of it's readers. I believe Tambay has said he's an atheist and Sergio has voiced his concerns about black pastors and the Black Church (he doesn't like them or it). More importantly, nearly every single film that's remotely related to religion gets an evil-eye and a poo-poo around these neck of the woods. However, imo, although Tambay decided not to review Woman Thou Art Loosed, I believe most Christian Themed film are fairly reviewed(for the most part). Tambay simply said. "instead of beating it up in a review, I figured I'd just leave you all to see it for yourselves; the audience I saw it with at PAFF (a packed house) seemed to mostly love it". So it appears as if the favorable opinion on "Christian" films (at S&A) is "get out of here". So maybe that explains Vannessa's need to submit here disclaimer prior to giving this doc a thumbs up? Maybe she didn't want to be attached to "that" crowd? You know, the old guilt by a association thing?

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