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I AM…SOMEBODY!: Relive the ‘Black is Beautiful’ Drenched ‘Wattstax’ Concert on its 48th Anniversary [EUR Video Flashback]

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*On August 20, 1972, the 30th birthday for Isaac Hayes and just a few days after the seventh anniversary of the Watts Riots, Stax Records held a concert featuring its roster of artists at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The event would come to be dubbed “Black Woodstock” for its lineup of the era’s top soul acts, including The Bar-Kays, The Staple Singers, Kim Weston and the birthday boy himself, Hayes.

Stax hired a film crew run by TV producer David L. Wolper (“Roots,” “The Thorn Birds”) to document the concert. Director Mel Stuart told his camera operators to fan out among the crowd and film both the talent on stage as well as closeups of folks dancing among the 112,000 in attendance. Released in 1973, the documentary “Wattstax” received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Documentary Film at the 1974 ceremony.

The concert was the brainchild of Stax’s West Coast director Forrest Hamilton, who was in Los Angeles during the 1965 riots and knew of the city’s own annual Watts Summer Festival to mark the anniversary. He contacted its organizers with a pitch to make a Stax concert its “Seventh Summer Festival.” Stax president Al Bell was on board, but envisioned a bigger venue for his artists than the confines of a park in Watts. A Stax team contacted the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but managers at the venue were skeptical about the relatively small label being able to sell enough tickets to fill the stadium.

Welp, soon after doors opened at around 1:45 p.m. on Aug. 20, 1972, L.A.’s Black population poured in, filling the majority of seats well before its 2:30 p.m. start time. Wattstax (a combo of Watts and Stax Records) would become the largest gathering of African-Americans outside of a civil rights event to that date.

Rev. Jesse Jackson of Operation PUSH was the concert’s MC, opening with his black power speech that culminated in his trademark “I Am Somebody” call and response.

Jackson’s introduction of The Soul Children would be embraced by a new generation of music fans through its sample at the beginning of Public Enemy’s 1988 track “Rebel Without a Pause.”

The L.A. Coliseum’s policy banned seating on the field so that the grass wouldn’t be ruined for the Rams game the next day (Aug. 21). But those careful attempts to protect the field went out the window when Rufus Thomas hit the stage to perform his hit “Do the Funky Chicken.”  Fans ran out onto the field to do the dance in front of and on the stage.  Stax executive Larry Shaw asked Thomas to get folks to retake their seats. One dude refused to leave, prompting Thomas to clown him until he was corralled. Watch below:

Sets by the Staples Singers, Bar-Kays and the evening’s closer, Isaac Hayes, were featured in the documentary.



The documentary also included sets from artists who were unable to perform during the actual Wattstax concert. The Emotions performed the gospel song “Peace Be Still” from the pulpit of the Friendly Will Baptist Church in Watts in footage shot several weeks after the concert.

Johnnie Taylor performed his 1971 hit single “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone” at the Summit Club in Los Angeles on Sept. 23, 1972, a little over a month after the Wattstax concert.

Below, Little Milton lip-syncs a performance of “Walking the Streets and Crying,” adjacent to train tracks near the Watts Towers.

Also sprinkled throughout the documentary is footage of Watts residents going about their everyday lives and being interviewed about various topics. Among the celebs appearing in the film’s interview segments are Richard Pryor, actor Ted Lange (before starring in “The Love Boat”) and Raymond Gilmore Allen (best known for playing Ned the Wino on “Good Times” and Woodrow/Uncle Woody on “Sanford and Son”) who died earlier this month at age 91 on Aug. 10.

Below is a montage of all interviews in the “Wattstax” documentary.

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Columns

New York Film Festival 58 Has Upped its Game

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Lover's Rock
Time family

The Time family (credit: Amazon Studios)

*Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) has upped its game and offers relevant films in this pandemic period at the 58th New York Film Festival (NYFF58) running until October 11.

Director of Programming Dennis Lim says, “Movies are neither made nor experienced in a vacuum, and while the works in our program predate the current moment of crisis, it’s striking to me just how many of them resonate with our unsettled present, or represent a means of transcending it.”

This year’s Main Slate showcases films from 19 different countries, including new titles from renowned auteurs. Frederick Wiseman explores  behind the scenes of the Boston city government in “City Hall;” indictments of America’s racist past and present in Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI” and Garrett Bradley’s “Time, dealing with the crisis of Black mass incarceration in America”

HELL YES! We’re Here for This: A Rick James Mini-series (‘Brother’s Keeper’) is in Development

Tragic Jungle_3_credit-malacosa Cine

Scene from “Tragic Jungle.” (credit” Malacoser Cine)

Steve McQueen not only has the Opening Night selection “Lovers Rock,” but “Mangrove;” and “Red, White and Blue.” The Centerpiece is Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” and Azazel Jacobs’s “French Exit” will close the festival

Also of note are  “Night of the Kings,” “Tragic Jungle,” “All In: The Fight for Democracy,” “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” “Hopper/Welles,” “The Human Voice,” “The Monopoly of Violence,” “On the Rocks,” “The Inheritance,” and “Ouvertures.”

Small Axe - Lovers Rock

Scene from “Lovers Rock.” (credit: Amazon Studios)

Included in the lineup also are “The Revolution Will Be Filmed,” “The Artist, the Athlete, and the Revolutionary,” “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” “Muhammad Ali, the Greatest,” and “Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris.”

The 58th New York Film Festival (NYFF58) runs until October 11.

For more information: https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2020.

Facebook.com/TheFilmStrip   Twitter: @thefilmstrip   Instagram.com/thefilmstriptm

 

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Entertainment

The Pulse of Entertainment: Stand-Up Comedian Rob Gordon Gets ‘Problematic’ in New Comedy Special

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Comedian/actor Rob Gordon releases comedy special ‘Problematic’ on Amazon Prime.

*“It’s about my life growing up in D.C.,” said comedian/actor Rob Gordon (Comedy Factory) about his new comedy special “Problematic” on Amazon Prime.

When I asked what we can expect him to talk about in the special he said, “My trails and tribulations, graduating college and now having a son are some of the things I cover.”

Gordon possesses a degree in Architecture from Hampton University, but it was his natural comedic skills that shined the most.

“My passion led me,” Rob said about going into comedy. “We went to a club and my fool friend signed me up. I did it (stand-up comedy), it was ok and I’ve been doing it since.”

Rob was into football but damaged his knee, which probably was the catalyst for his “fool friend” to encourage him to do what he natural does – make people laugh.

“I was in college playing football and got hurt,” he told me. “One of my boys was at the club, he said, ‘You should try comedy.’ I said, ‘We in DC man, everybody funny!’ I ran it by my God-brother. He told me to think about it, so I let my passion lead me.”

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I am a native of Baltimore, a neighbor to D.C., and I told Rob my people are naturally funny too and some could actually do comedy.

He said his family members are all funny as well. When I mentioned that I’m not really feeling those comedians that pick people out of the audience and make-fun-of-them, and that I love comedians that can take a word, an event or subject and make people laugh at it, he said, “Actually, it can be like that on occasions. I talk about my life. I think It’s relatable to people. Who can say what the future holds (comedic content). I’m in DC, so we talk about politics.”

Gordon also tried his hand at acting and did well in the 2013 Ashes of the Phoenix film as Jordan. He will be appearing in the 2020 film Holiday Heartbreak with A.J. Johnson, Michael Colyar, and LisaRay McCoy. Aside from the Comedy Club his comedic skills as been displayed on “The Roland Martin Show,” at the Navy Memorial event, and during the “DC Comedy Special.” Ron also has a film company Gordonism Films. www.RobGordonProblematic.com

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 21st year. Next events are coming to Los Angeles Saturday, November 7, 2020 via Zoom Video Conferencing and to Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall. The ULMII event is a free conference offering an Entertainment Business Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services.  Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]

www.GoFundMe.com/Uplifting-Minds-II-Entertainment-Conference

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Education

THE REAL: Adrienne Won’t Send Her Kids to Traditional School + Janelle Monaé & Kieresey Clemons

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Janelle Monaé & Kieresey Clemons - The Real

The Real crew (09-25-20)

*On Friday, Sept. 25, the hosts of The Real discuss whether teachers should be prohibited from displaying personal items that reflect their political beliefs, sexual identity, and other personal items on their desks or classrooms during the school year. Co-host Adrienne Houghton explains how she supports this ban and why she does not plan to have her future children attend traditional school.

Then, the co-hosts welcome D-Nice as a guest DJ and discuss with him how his career exploded during the COVID-19 quarantine, that he currently is crushing on someone who is NOT Halle Berry, and the most outrageous message that a fan once slid into his DMs!

And Janelle Monaé and Kieresey Clemons join the ladies to talk about their new film Antebellum, the fears they had taking on their difficult roles, and if they ever plan to collaborate musically together.

Don’t Plan on Adrienne Sending Her Future Children to a Traditional School

Janelle Monaé & Kieresey Clemons Discuss Their Concerns of Taking on Their Roles in Antebellum

Don’t Plan on Adrienne Sending Her Future Children to a Traditional School

Adrienne Houghton: I personally wouldn’t have my children involved in traditional schooling because, you know, I actually believe teachers naturally are going to be bias to, like you said, whatever their belief system is, to however they were raised and what they believe to be true. And I wouldn’t want that to be an influence on my child, personally. Like when I was growing up in school I learned that Christopher Columbus was the greatest person because that’s what my textbook told me and what my teacher told me. Obviously, we know that now to be completely incorrect. And that’s why I just don’t believe in traditional schooling. That’s just me.

Jeannie Mai: I hear you.

Garcelle Beauvais: So, you would want your kids to be in a school where the teacher does not share anything personal, Adrienne. Is that how you’re feeling?

Adrienne: I would wanna homeschool.

Garcelle: Ah.

Adrienne: I love the idea of homeschooling or having a traditional setting…

Garcelle: Girl listen, you’ll do it for a week, then be like, “Get these kids outta here.” (Laughs)

Adrienne: No! I wouldn’t do it! I wouldn’t do it.

Jeannie: (Laughs)

Adrienne: I probably wouldn’t be doing the homeschooling. My sister does it with my nieces. So, I’d have her do it.

Garcelle: Oh. Okay.

Adrienne: But they also have this amazing situation now where you get multiple…

Jeannie: Girl! You ain’t gonna be raising a rainbow flag! You’re gonna be raising a white flag! (Motions like she is waving a flag) “Help!”

Garcelle: Yeah! Exactly! “Get me outta here!”

Adrienne: “Come get me! I surrender!” But, I love the idea of raising children together. You actually get multiple families together who choose to school their children together under a curriculum they all agree upon. Like, I would love for my children to learn about African history that doesn’t start with colonialism- or learn starting at slavery. Like, there’s certain things that I would want my children to learn that isn’t in our current school systems… Yeah, I don’t want them celebrating Christopher Columbus Day. But that’s just me…. So, I think that it’s very difficult to decide this because naturally- we naturally as human beings- even me being on this show, I’m sharing my personal opinion. If your child is spending eight hours a day with this teacher, naturally this person’s values and bias will absolutely be influential on your children’s lives.

 

Website: thereal.com

Twitter: @TheRealDaytime

Instagram: http://instagram.com/therealdaytime

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therealdaytime

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/therealdaytime

 

About THE REAL

THE REAL is a live daily, one-hour, two-time NAACP Image Award-winning and Emmy®-nominated talk show now in its seventh season on Fox Television Stations and in national syndication (check local listings), with a rebroadcast on cable network Bounce. The bold, diverse and outspoken hosts, Garcelle Beauvais and Emmy® Award-winners Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai, all frankly say what women are actually thinking. Their unique perspectives are brought to life through candid conversations about their personal lives, current events, beauty, fashion and relationships (nothing is off limits). Unlike other talk shows, THE REAL hosts are admittedly a “work in progress,” and fearlessly invite viewers to reflect on their own lives and opinions. Fresh points of view, youthful energy and passion have made THE REAL a platform for multicultural women. Produced by Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, THE REAL is led by Executive Producer, Rachel Miskowiec (Good Morning America, Katie, The Tyra Banks Show, Judge Hatchett, The Ricki Lake Show) and Co-Executive Producer Tenia Watson (Judge Mathis, Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court, WGN-TV Morning News, Just Keke, The Test) and shot in Los Angeles, California.

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