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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Showing posts with label 1970s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1970s. Show all posts

Friday, December 8, 2023

Wattstax (1973)

"Wattstax" (1973) is an iconic documentary about the legendary concert known as Wattstax. Stax Records organized the event on August 20, 1972, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 1965 Watts riots. This multilayered film is strong in black culture, idealism, politics, music, style, fashion, language, art, dance, and beauty. Richard Pryor is the host of the film, and there are several excerpts from actors and everyday folks discussing life as a Black American post-Civil Rights.

The music in the film was nothing short of amazing. The concert was six hours long, but the film only showed parts of the entire show, including performances by Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Carla and Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Jimmy Jones, Rance Allen, Albert King, The Emotions, Little Milton, Luther Ingram, and more! Jesse Jackson also delivered his famous "I'm Somebody" speech, which Kim Weston followed by singing "Lift Every Voice."

This movie is one of the richest experiences of black culture. It was a moment when black people united for a common cause and celebrated with each other. Very few films can capture the essence of the black experience, but "Wattstax" did an excellent job of displaying the most profound aspects of Black Americans—comedy, music, dance, soul, and love.

Director: Mel Stuart

Starring Richard Pryor, James Alexander, Rance Allen, Raymond Allen, The Bar-Kays, Andre Edwards, The Emotions, Isaac Hayes, Luther Ingram, Jesse Jackson, Erik Kilpatrick, Albert King, Ted Lange, Little Milton, Richard Pryor, Mavis Staples, Roebuck 'Pops' Staples, Johnnie Taylor, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Kim Weston, Jimmy Jones, William Bell

In 1972, at the Los Angeles Coliseum, director Mel Stuart captured the performances of the Watts Summer Festival. Stax Records organized the festival as a gathering of musicians and entertainers from the black community, brought together to remember the Watts Riots from seven years prior. Key performances include comedian Richard Pryor and singers Isaac Hayes and Luther Ingram. Stuart also presents shots of the Watts streets, community, and festival footage.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Just an Old Sweet Song (1976, TV Movie)

"Just an Old Sweet Song" (1976) was a made-for-television drama presented by GE Theatre which aired on several local network channels. Melvin Van Peebles wrote the script for the movie, and stars Robert Hooks and Cicely Tyson as the lead actors. 

By 1976, black actors started seeing more work in TV movies, especially with more programming featuring a primarily black cast. These films were welcoming counters to blaxploitation movies that were flooding the market. "Just an Old Sweet Song" is a story about a family from Detroit that moves down south. While there, they face various situations where the family tries to understand themselves and their societal place. As expected, Robert Hooks and Cicely Tyson were masterful, but the supporting cast was just as good, which includes Beah Richards, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Mary Alice, Kevin Hooks, and Sonny Jim Gains. 

Overall, the film is a good watch and honest with its intentions. I recommend the movie if you want to see legendary actors in their element.

Director: Robert Ellis Miller
Writers: Melvin Van Peebles, Jane Parker

Starring Cicely Tyson, Robert Hooks, Beah Richards, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Joe, Minnie Gentry, Edward Binns, Kevin Hooks, Eric Hooks, Sonny Jim Gaines, Mary Alice, Tia Rance, Philip Wende, Walt Guthrie, Lou Walker

Priscilla Simmons (Cicely Tyson) is a working-class mother who traded her "backward ways" of the South for a Nothern education. Now she has a husband, three kids, and a promising career. Her life in the big city is very ordinary until her mother's illness forces the family to venture across the Mason-Dixon line for the first time.