I do not have enough thumbs to turn up for this film. It is a must see for music lovers, dreamers, people who believe in infinite possibility, and anyone who believes in the power of love. Disclaimer spoilers in review.
I watched “Presenting Princess Shaw” on Netflix at work yesterday and I was so moved, I was in an emotional place all day waiting to write a review for this film. A music documentary that is shot in a way to allow you to be a voyeur into the world of Princess Shaw. In the modern era of YouTube, Princess Shaw has a channel and she sings and posts moments from her day to day that are so personal, yet so reflective of the trials and tribulations of the human experience that she pulls you in with her vulnerability and honesty.
Almost one million miles away, on the other side of the world, a man essentially becomes a fan and a love story begins. Kutiman, a musician from Israel known for taking bits and pieces of musical entries from YouTube and piecing them together to compose an original song, essentially subscribes to Princess Shaw’s story and creates an original music score to wrap around one of her acapella songs.
The film written and directed by Ido Haar, in modern documentary form follows Princess Shaw on her journey to find a producer that can write music to the songs she has written. What you see is her fearlessness and her willingness to sing in front of anyone, to travel to find the right producer, to bear her personal hurts to the world in an unapologetic way. And then you see the story of Kutiman and how he falls in love with Princess Shaw, not in an amorous way, but in a human way, he loves her voice and her story so much that he does something he has never done before which is he makes her a star to his internet fans by creating a beautiful song, and Princess Shaw goes viral. The moment when Princess Shaw a Black woman from New Orleans meets Kutiman a bearded Israeli man is pure magic.
I was in tears watching this film. Princess Shaw’s voice reminds me of Alice Smith and Andra Day in places. Her story of childhood sexual abuse and the complexity of her relationship with her mother reminds me so much of my own and I see pieces of me in her. And as this woman actualizes to become more of who she is, the Universe sends her a human angel, Kutiman who allows her to be loved in a way so that she can create and express. In their meeting the world becomes smaller not just for them, but for anyone that sees this film or hears their music. I was in Japan a few years ago with my brother on tour. His band performed as the sun was setting and Stevie Wonder and Taylor Swift were also on the line-up. In the elementary school system in Japan all children learn English, however by the time they reach adulthood – the language is lost due to non use. While at the stadium in Osaka which was filled to the brim, I saw a sea of people singing songs, dancing in the crowd, knowing the lyrics, crying in places, and being moved by one of the universal languages, music. This is what “Presenting Princess Shaw” reminds me of. There is a line in my book where I say I am a well of emotion and have been waiting my whole life to express love and I have so much of it to give, that is what the gift of Princess Shaw’s songs are to the world, gifts of love.
Go see this film. I am also linking an article that is like a follow up to the film. Enjoy reading lovers – in my Princess Shaw voice! Life After Going Viral
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