Born in New York City and raised in the Central New Jersey towns of Plainfield, Piscataway and Dunellen, Josiah Howard was an energetic child of the "three network" seventies: fascinated with the decade's most popular singers, actors, TV shows and movies.
A graduate of New York University, Josiah Howard’s professional writing and research career began at The Village Voice where he spent a year assisting esteemed film and media critic Andrew ("Politics and Cinema") Sarris. Following his tenure at The Voice Howard moved to Parade, America’s most widely-read news-magazine. At Parade he spent two years as Photo Researcher providing the imagery that accompanied articles, columns and cover stories that ran the gamut of celebrities, politicians, sports figures and religious leaders.
At the same time that Mr. Howard was at Parade, he was also a regular contributor to the music magazines Record Mirror (Britain) and Top Spot (America); publications that gave him direct access to the era's most popular recording artists.
Mr. Howard's first book, Donna Summer: Her Life and Music, a comprehensive work that included interviews with producers, songwriters and intimates, offered readers an unfiltered behind-the-scenes look at the late singer/songwriter and five time Grammy Award winner. DiscoMusic.com called the book "... a don't miss page turner that contains information that even die-hard Donna fans will find fascinating." While CD Review exclaimed "Who knew Donna's story was so varied and special... Howard has uncovered a wealth of information on America's undisputed 'Queen of Disco'." In 2013, Howard was featured extensively in the critically-acclaimed European documentary film "Donna Summer: Hot Stuff."
Mr. Howard's second book, Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide (now in a fourth printing) provided readers with a broad and sweeping overview of America's one and only African-American motion picture boom. A compendium of of more than 250 film reviews as well as Q & A interviews with actors, directors and producers, Blaxploitation Cinema is "required reading" at several university and film schools. Film Review cited the book as "... a mine of superbly collated information... a treasure trove on an under-examined film genre," while American Library Journal observed "... truth in advertising; an essential addition to your film book library."
Today, Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide remains the primary source on the genre; cited in more than 100 books, magazines, newspapers, websites and scholarly works.
Following the publication of Blaxpoitation Cinema, Mr. Howard became a coveted guest speaker on the genre; presenting his lectures, PowerPoints and dissertations everywhere from the Shomburg Center for African American Studies in New York City to California's UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
The Brazilian Minister of Culture commissioned Mr. Howard to write a 10,000-word program, and then travel to the country to host the month-long Tela-Negra Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. In 2020 Mr. Howard curated and presented the Black Then: Blaxploitation Cinema Turns Fifty! film series in NYC.
Mr. Howard's other blaxploitation speaking engagements include the Say It Loud: Cinema in the Age of Black Power, 1966 -1988 film festival, the 100th anniversary Celebration of the Ohio Library system, at which he presented the Cleveland, Ohio-filmed Up Tight! (1969), and the You Won't Bleed Me: How Blaxploitation Posters Defined Cool and Delivered Profits exhibition at Poster House Museum in NYC. Mr Howard has written the press books and DVD/Blu-ray booklets for several blaxploitation films including Foxy Brown and Blacula: The Complete Collection.
His ten-part series of director interviews, which included Jack Hill, Larry Cohen and Cirio Santiago, were published in America and Britain and added to the Quentin Tarantino Archives.
Best Selling Author
Josiah Howard's first association with Cher came In 2008 when he was commissioned to write a 3,000-word program for the artist's three-year residency (2008-2011) at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. The best-selling book Cher: Strong Enough followed. A compendium of more than 200 interviews, Cher: Strong Enough offered readers a rare, unfiltered, behind-the-scenes look at the Oscar, Grammy and Emmy-winning singer/actress/cultural icon. Liz Smith (Variety, New York Daily News) called it "a highly entertaining look at the one-name pop music goddess... a labor of love," while the Huffington Post observed "fascinating, meticulously detailed... Howard leaves no bugle bead unturned."
Following the New York Post's banner headline "Cher Hired Aid to Convince Fans She Was Female: Book," Cher: Strong Enough entered the international news cycle and became a best-seller (reprinted four times in America and twice in Portuguese for the Brazilian market). The Post excerpt appeared in more than twenty countries including Poland, the UK, Spain, Australia and the Netherlands.
Along with lecturing internationally Mr. Howard has appeared on an array of television and radio broadcasts including The Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, Unsung, Autopsy, Breaking the Band, NPR, and American Radio Networks. Interviews with Mr. Howard have appeared in The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, People, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and The Hollywood Reporter.
For the past nine years Josiah Howard has been a senior editor/contributor at The Deuce and Furious Cinema where he has written more than 200 film reviews. Howard's reviews have been syndicated and appear on more than forty other websites including IMDB (International Movie Database), Wow.com, SolarMovie, Teramovie.net, B-Movienation, 123Movies and Bigstar.tv.
In 2018 Howard was commissioned by the American Library of Congress to write a monograph whose focus was singer/musician Isaac Hayes' groundbreaking "Theme From Shaft." Hayes' seminal work was deemed "culturally, aesthetically and historically significant" and added to the National Recording Registry. In 2019 and 2020 Howard continued to work with the American Library of Congress writing essays on the hit Broadway musical The Wiz, Curtis Mayfield's Super Fly soundtrack album, and the Village People's million-selling song "Y.M.C.A." (All three were added to the National Recording Registry.)
Josiah Howard's current activities include, an extended interview with the RealBlack Channel, writing the press package for the motion picture Sweet, Sweet Sally Mae, a 50th anniversary monograph on Marvin Gaye's What's Going On album for the American Library of Congress, an interview with NPR (National Public Radio) and Digital Bits, speaking engagements at the opening of NYC's Poster House Museum, and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), re-writing and updating the 2021 editions of Cher: Strong Enough and Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide, and writing the Blu-ray booklet for long-lost, just discovered Solomon King (1974).
Josiah Howard lives in New York City. His writing credits include articles for the American Library of Congress, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Variety, Reader's Digest, and Motion Picture.