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Black American Documentary Films in Streaming: Popular Culture

Popular Culture

All By Myself: The Eartha Kitt Story
"'I don't know why the gods chose me to be in this business but there must have been a reason and I'm still enjoying it so tremendously,' says Eartha Kitt in this intimate and eye-opening portrait. Filmed in 1982 at the singer's remote home and multiple live performances, All By Myself is a deeply moving and personal account of the iconic star's life and career...."                              (Kanopy)

Amazing Nina Simone
"She was left out of Civil Rights history, erased by jazz critics, and forgotten by most Americans because no one knew how to categorize her greatness.  But throughout the 1960s, Nina Simone was both loved and feared for her outspoken vision of Black Freedom. Her musical proclamations like 'Mississippi Goddam', and her iconic style created an alternative voice that continues to empower with its unrelenting appeal for justice. Now, a new documentary reveals the real Nina Simone through over 50 intimate interviews with those who best knew the artistry and intentions of one America's true musical geniuses.

An Apollo Legend
"Decades before American Idol and America's Got Talent captured the attention of millions on TV, the world renowned Apollo Theater in Harlem started hosting its popular Amateur Night, which launched the careers of Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, and Jimi Hendrix, among many other famous African American artists. Still as vibrant and popular today as it was in 1934, one night a week the stage becomes an amateur's battleground, where emotions run high and dreams are both made and broken."

Many Steps
"The origin and evolution of African American collegiate stepping is explored in this energetic and informative documentary. Stepping is a popular communal art form in which teams of young dancers compete, using improvisation, call and response, complex meters, propulsive rhythms and a percussive attack."

Michael Jackson: Life and Times of The King of Pop—1958–2009
"Michael Jackson's final days and memorial service are captured in this engaging film that pays respect to the the undisputed greatest pop star of all time who died on June 25th, 2009. A celebration of Michael's life and legacy, this film captures the story of a dazzling star: as artist and entertain

Nat King Cole: The Legendary Nat King Cole
"Through video footage, television clips, and rare early photos, this film uncovers the life of one of America's leading cultural icons, Nat King Cole—documenting both his struggles and successes, from his early childhood in Alabama to his transformation into America's best loved performer..."

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me
"...explores the multifaceted entertainer's quest to create his own identity and blaze a trail in show business. Learn all about the life and art of this uniquely gifted performer."

Rap, Race, and Equality
"...captures the essence of the cultural phenomenon of rap music during its formative years in the early 1990s when it exploded onto the world stage. The film is an important historical document featuring rap's most influential and controversial artists such as Ice Cube, Ice T, and Queen Latifah who have become international media stars. The film unmasks the issues behind the music, such as racism, sexism, economic and social inequality, and cultural identity..."

Wild Women Don't Have the Blues
"...shows the blues were born out of the economic and social transformation of African American life early in this century. It recaptures the lives and times of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters and the other legendary women who made the blues a vital part of American culture. The film brings together for the first time dozens of rare, classic renditions of the early blues. What we call the blues can be traced back to the work songs of generations of Black fieldhands...."



(Nat King Cole: The Legendary Nat King Cole)