sun 09/08/2020

black culture

Everything: The Real Thing Story, BBC Four review - brilliant but long overdue

This documentary is bittersweet viewing on quite a number of levels. First, it’s got all the glory and tragedy of the most compelling music stories: a Liverpool band struggling from humble beginnings, trying to find an identity, fraternity and...

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My White Best Friend (And Other Letters Left Unsaid), Royal Court review – raw but generous

The strength of the response to the re-emergence of the Black Lives Matter campaign has provoked some theatres to create provocative new work. Often, the keynote is personal feeling. One recent example is the Bush Theatre’s Protest: Black Lives...

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Clemency review - devastating death row drama

“All we want is to be seen and heard,” explains a lawyer to a death row inmate, paraphrasing a line from Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man, from which Chinonye Chukwu’s new film Clemency takes inspiration.Chukwu’s film, like Ellison’s...

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Les Blancs, National Theatre at Home review – triumphant revival of forgotten classic

Lorraine Hansberry’s debut, A Raisin in the Sun, was the first drama written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, where it opened in 1959. It is now an American classic, but it’s her last play, Les Blancs, that in the current context of the...

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On the Record review - #MeToo turns its lens to the music industry, gives the mic to women of colour

On the Record, the latest documentary from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (acclaimed directors of The Hunting Ground), dives into the sexual misconduct allegations against music mogul Russell Simmons, the so-called ‘Godfather of Hip Hop.’ It...

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'We must channel the energy and pain that is being expressed right now': Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE on time for action on diversity in classical music

The worldwide reaction to the horrific murder of George Floyd via the renewed focus on the Black Lives Matter movement is not a minority issue. It concerns people of all ethnicities, education and economic backgrounds who want a better, fairer world...

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Small Island, National Theatre At Home review – big-hearted story hits every beat

A British-Jamaican man is confused. It's the Second World War, and he signed up for the RAF on the understanding that he would serve as a pilot overseas. But instead he's ended up as ground crew in a grey Lincolnshire village. "You are overseas,...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 9: Alan Bennett revisited, and so is Oz

The government may occupy shifting sands when it comes to handling Covid-19, but the arts thank heavens continue to step up to the plate with a dizzying array of online options. This week's output mixes a soul musical from 1970s Broadway alongside a...

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Album: Footsie - No Favours

Footsie might not have the profile of a Skepta or Wiley, or even his Newham Generals partner and recent IKEA advert soundtracker D Double E. But anyone halfway schooled in grime will know that both as MC and producer he's a key player from grime's...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 5: A solo show for the ages, Ibsen refreshed, and yet more frolicsome cats

No one can accuse the gods of streaming of failing to cast a wide net. That's even more so with an array of streaming opportunities over the next week that ranges from Off West End Ibsen given a second chance to shine to an online encounter with,...

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Selah and the Spades, Amazon Prime review - boarding-school cliques go gangster

“They always try to break you down when you’re 17,” says queen bee Selah (Lovie Simone) in Tayarisha Poe’s impressive directorial debut. As leader of the Spades, one of the five Mafia-style ruling factions in the exclusive Haldwell boarding-school...

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Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All, Netflix review - epic two-parter on pop's first superstar

Coming in at around four hours, in two parts, this 2015 documentary is ostensibly about Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, but really, via the prism of his existence, it’s as much about America’s journey through the first two thirds of the 20th century....

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