CONNECT Virtual Series: Queenie Pie, Ellington and Colorism

Remote Event

Tuesday, October 5th
10:00pm - 11:00pm


  • Dr. Everett McCorvey, Music Director, American Spiritual Ensemble; Professor and Director of Opera, UK
  • Dr. DaMaris Hill, Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies & Associate Professor of Creative writing, English and African American Studies, UK
  • Dr. Marc Gaspard Bolin, Multi-instrumentalist, Jazz Scholar, Arranger for Queenie Pie

Duke Ellington's unfinished opera Queenie Pie "tells the story of Queenie Pie, a Harlem beautician voted the best in town for years on end until she's challenged by a lighter-skinned woman named Café O'Lay."

The opera includes themes of colorism within the Black community, while also highlighting the power of women. Dr. McCorvey, Dr. Hill and Dr. Gaspard Bolin will discuss the music of Duke Ellington and the history of this unfinished piece, the concept of colorism and examples in art and society, and the process of reconstructing this unfinished work, casting the singers and bringing it to the stage.