Photo by Lilian Ca
Friday night at the Toronto International Film Festival saw the world premiere of Miss Sharon Jones!, Barbara Koppel’s documentary chronicling soul singer Sharon Jones’ battle with cancer and return to music. Sadly, the celebratory nature of the film and its debut screening proved bittersweet as Jones herself took the stage and announced that the cancer had returned and she’d soon be entering chemotherapy.
“I start chemo on Wednesday,” Jones said, according to Thompson on Hollywood. “But I’m gonna keep fighting. We got a long way to go.” Jones was joined on stage by her Dap Kings band and oncologist, Dr. James Leonardo. Dr. Leonardo also took the mic, signaling the screen and the crowd as he said, “People ask me how I can do what I do. This is how.”
At a gig later that night in Hamilton, Ontario, Jones once again told her fans the unfortunate news. “I may be in a bit of pain, but it’s alright,” she said, referencing a “pins-and-needles feeling in her extremities,” according to Exclaim. “I still got my energy, and I’m going to keep dancing and shouting until this cancer gets out!”
While there’s a sad irony in the way this news has come to light, there’s at least a bit of hope that Jones’ “prognosis seemed positive,” according to reports. Besides, she’s beaten this thing once before. Watch Jones and the Dap Kings’ David Letterman performance from right after she was initially cleared of the disease.