The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

When We Were Kings (1996)

  • Muhammad Ali
  • George Foreman
  • James Brown
  • Don King

It's now time to teach that "Pride" part of Blaxploitation. We aim to deliver lessons here at BP as to the mood and motive this era encompassed as well as its fun and flavor.

We will feature documentaries on the culture in the time of blaxploitation's era that were so beneficial to the esteem, mind state and spirit and it is a pleasure knowing a succeeding generation will bear witness to such informative inspiration courtesy of avid collaboration from our contributors, social networks and of course, these cats here at Blaxploitation Pride.

What we have served up today is a documentary from Leon Gast chronicling the "Rumble In The Jungle", a 1974 superfight between Muhammad Ali and "Big" George Foreman. "When We Were Kings" went on to garner an Oscar for the best documentary of 1996. Isn't that something that this film containing so much archival footage from an event taking place 22 years prior would be even more valid and necessary 35 years later?

What stands out is a concert promoted by The Godfather Don King who, like the quintessential hustler, told both fighters he would pay each $5,000,000 among tens of thousands of Africans in Zaire. He didn't have a dime of that money but his plan and passion behind it was so strong, he got both men to stroke ink on the agreement.

Not only did he convince both camps, he supplemented the event with an unforgettable concert (the only known footage recorded) with co-promoter Lloyd Price that featured The Spinners, The Crusaders, Pointer Sisters, B.B. King, Big Black and The Godfather Of Soul James Brown.

There is so much to be said watching this documentary, so many of the greatest of all time from music, promotion, journalism, sports, and it was all funded by the President of Zaire (now Democratic Republic Of Congo) Mobutu Sese Seko.

You heard what I have to say and I'll only tell you that this along with Eyes On The Prize and Wattstax are my three favorite documentaries that are, in my opinion, some of the best capturers of kindred soul on film.

I wonder what the next two posts will be about.

Any ideas?

Link to soundtrack reviewVarious Artist - When We Were Kings (1996)