Miss Sharon Jones! is a verité documentary following a great modern-day soul singer as she struggles to survive cancer and return to her true home: The Stage. Denied her dream for decades by music executives who deemed her “too fat, too black, too short and too old”, Sharon Jones’ perseverance finally paid off at age 50. Breaking through as an internationally recognized powerhouse performer, her stage presence earned a nickname: The Female James Brown.
From a Riker’s corrections officer, to a major player in the music industry, Sharon’s rise seemed unstoppable. Then, on the eve of the release of her first Grammy-nominated record, Sharon went to a doctor experiencing severe stomach pains. The diagnosis was Stage Two Pancreatic Cancer, a 50/50 survival rate. “I no longer know who I am going to be as a performer and that scares me,” Jones confides. Filmmakers were present for every moment as she and her band mates, the Dap-Kings, put their album on hold, canceling months of concerts, so Sharon could focus on the fight for her life.
The film begins with Sharon, shortly after being diagnosed, entering her barbershop to shave her beautiful hair before beginning chemo treatments. Thus begins a new era of her journey. Sharon travels from Brooklyn to her hometown of Augusta, North Carolina, where she re-engages with family and old friends. Back in New York, Sharon feels compelled at a church service to sing and dance for the first time since her illness. The bold spirit that has made her a beloved performer is evident.
This is the story of fighter who achieved great success only to face a devastating cancer diagnosis. She faces cancer the way she has faced her music career: against all odds, she never gives up. This is also a story about the joy of music. The soundtrack and performances burst forth with the band’s modern take on the 1960s soul-funk sound. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’ large, enthusiastic fan base continues to grow, with no end in sight. This film is intimate and human, capturing a great artist in her prime and the light that shines through her. In short, this film is about triumph of will and the music of life.