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Nicholas Brothers dancing in "Stormy Weather" (1943)

by Matt Delmont

On August 21, 1943, the New York Amsterdam News announced that a group of East Bronx merchants were screening Stormy Weather, a film staring Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers. "The merchants who have enforced this film are some of the oldest businessmen in the East Bronx," reporter Pete Robinson wrote. "One jewelry establishment, M. Hoffman and Sons on Westchester Ave., has served this area for over three generations. Other firms like Jacwins, Gorlin Spiro, Sol Brooks, Hollywood Trousers, Arthur's Luggage, Blue Bird Photo Studio, Prospect Florists, Egna & Lippman, Prospect Wine and Liquor Store, Mullen's Food Store, and Apex Photo Studio, have also given years of fair dealing to this community, which account for their number of years in business. 'Stormy Weather,' these merchants declare, evidences the great advancement and rapid achievement that Negro actors and actresses have made in pictures, and they are happy to give it their whole-hearted support." This article ran three weeks after a large race riot in Harlem and at the end of a summer that saw race riots in Detroit and several other cities. It is against this backdrop that the primarily Jewish store owners in the East Bronx saw Stormy Weather as a way to appeal to black customers. Stormy Weather includes several amazing performance scenes, including this one by the Nicholas Brothers:

Nicholas Brothers dancing in "Stormy Weather" (1943)

Nicholas Brothers dancing in "Stormy Weather" (1943)

from "Story Weather" (1943)
Creator: Dir. Andrew Stone
Posted by Matt Delmont
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