During the 1970s and ’80s, photographer Charles Chamblis captured the vibrant social and artistic life of the Twin Cities African American community. Musicians and other artists are shown performing, dancing, and interacting with enthusiastic audiences at once-thriving but now lost clubs, such as the Taste Show Lounge, Riverview Supper Club, Fox Trap, Nacirema Club, and others on Minneapolis’s north and south sides. Among the legendary soul, funk, and R&B acts depicted are Flyte Tyme, Prophets of Peace, Terry Lewis, Jimmy Jam, Morris Day, Prince, and many other influential musicians who helped establish the so-called Minneapolis Sound. Beyond the nightlife, Chamblis’s portraits, images of family gatherings and weddings, fashion photography, landscapes, and photos of community events offer intimate and rare glimpses into the life of African Americans in the Twin Cities at these particular moments in time.
Contemporary writer and artist Davu Seru brings these photos to life with introductory text and supplemental essays that put this visual celebration into the context of the day as well as that of the Twin Cities community in the twenty-first century. Chamblis’s images offer a trip back in time and leave a legacy unlike any other photographer’s.