A giant on this Earth

Barbara Kopple pays tribute to Sharon Jones.

by Anne-Katrin Titze and Barbara Kopple

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings with Barbara Kopple
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings with Barbara Kopple Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

In 2015, on November 12, the opening night of DOC NYC, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings joined Barbara Kopple on stage to present Miss Sharon Jones!. Sharon Jones showed us her powerful voice and an even more impressive personality on that evening. On Friday, November 18, 2016 at the age of 60, Sharon Jones passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Sharon Jones sings for us following the screening:
Sharon Jones sings for us following the screening: "Sharon was fiercely loyal, caring and kind. She was brave beyond belief." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Barbara filmed the singer's battle with her illness, her comeback show at the Beacon Theater in New York and what lead up to the successful new album with her band. Miss Sharon Jones! is about real friendship.

Barbara Kopple remembers Sharon Jones:

"Reflecting on the remarkable life and work of Sharon Jones, who we lost far too soon, fills me with a sense of reverence, inspiration, sadness and determination. I met Sharon soon after her cancer diagnosis, and the time I spent with her changed me forever. She taught me so much about strength and life and love. She became an instant inspiration.

"Sharon loved to dance and to make other people to dance - anyone who saw her and her beloved Dap-Kings knows that. She didn't like to sit still for long, so she kept things interesting even when going through chemotherapy. Sharon was a woman who finished what she started and never lost sight of her goal despite the zig-zag nature of her life. Sharon got back on her feet when she got knocked down - whether it was cancer, career setbacks or insults like the record executive who told her she was “too fat, too black and too old” to make it in music. Later in life she wore that insult like a badge of honour. She embraced who she was and inspired her fans to love themselves too.

Sharon Jones at the Beacon Theater in Miss Sharon Jones!
Sharon Jones at the Beacon Theater in Miss Sharon Jones!

"Sharon was fiercely loyal, caring and kind. She was brave beyond belief. She sang of love and faith and with confidence and grace. She had a deep love of family, friends and her hometown. She looked out for her brothers and sisters even though she was the youngest of six. Her soul was a bottomless well of faith, strength, fun and fight. She stood under five feet tall but she was a giant on this Earth. I'll miss her dearly, and I'll honour her by never giving up hope, never ceasing my faith in the power of love and music, and dancing my heart out at every opportunity." - Barbara Kopple

Share this with others on...
News

Playing to type Doug Nichol on the story behind California Typewriter.

Missing voices Rachel Robey, Charlie Swinbourne and Aurora Fearnley on the barriers facing disabled filmmakers

Portrait of an artist Dome Karukoski on his biography of influential gay icon Tom Of Finland

San Sebastian reveals Horizontes Latinos line-up Sebastián Lelio, Michel Franco and Adrián Biniez in competition

Raindance announces line-up Festival to open with Oh Lucy!

Stunt driver dies on Deadpool 2 set SJ Harris was a professional road racer

More news and features

We're looking forward to Frightfest.



We've recently been covering the Fantasia film festival in Montreal, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival



Read our full for recent coverage.


Visit our festivals section.