Speaking of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, it turns out they have a song on the soundtrack for the new Denzel Washington movie, "The Great Debaters," which tells the story of an African American debate team from Wiley College and their 1935 national victory over the University of Southern California (Harvard in the film). Given the times, the group wasn’t allowed to claim the public title because they were not members of the debate society, which didn’t admit black folks until after World War II. The movie opens on Christmas. An article about Wiley College appeared today in the New York Times.
The Chocolate Drops themselves are a bit of an anomaly. They are three 20-something African Americans who play a brand of acoustic banjo- and strng-driven music that is, as one writer put it, "nearly extinct." That they are breathing life into this style of Americana is phenomenal and important.
Here’s a link to an interview that the group did on NPR. They touch on many of the issues that are impacting Black rock: how the majority of their shows attract largely white audiences, but there’s always a small group of Black folks at the events; how they perform regularly at black schools and community centers in order to help connect Black people to this aspect of their musical history and how their efforts are an ongoing attempt to jump the gap between the music and its perception among African Americans.