2025 Broadcast Honors Submissions Now Open

“I’ve been singing for more than 60 years and I have no intention of retiring,” 75-year-old Mavis Staples tells us at the beginning of this documentary. The Chicago-born singer broke through at a young age when she and her sisters and brother formed a gospel group called The Staple Singers, managed and led by their father Roebuck “Pops” Staples. “We were singing gospel and we were sexy!” The Staple Singers blended gospel with blues, and later on they sang soul, folk and pop, too. Mavis! boasts an abundance of impressive archive material, demonstrating how important the group was in the 1960s during the civil rights movement. By singing at folk festivals, the group gained popularity with a wider audience. Mavis shares her life story with us, and we also get to hear from her sister Yvonne, biographer of The Staple Singers Greg Kot, and Jeff Tweedy (from the group Wilco), who produced her Grammy Award-winning solo album You Are Not Alone (2010) and One True Vine (2013). (IDFA)