sat 18/09/2021

black culture

One Night in Miami review - black history come alive

In 1964, Cassius Clay, NFL superstar Jim Nathaniel Brown, soul legend Sam Cooke and political firebrand Malcolm X gathered for one night in a dingy room at the Hampton Motel. It was a meeting that became a symbol of hope for black Americans. A photo...

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Courttia Newland: A River Called Time review - an ethereality check

It is near impossible to imagine what the world would look like today if slavery and colonialism had never existed, let alone to write a book on the subject. Courttia Newland sets himself this daunting task in his latest novel, A River Called Time....

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Albums of the Year 2020: Cleo Sol - Rose in the Dark

Among the glints of light in this overcast year, one particularly bright one has been the state of British soul music. Not just in the sense of good records released, although there’ve been plenty of those – but something significantly deeper: a...

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom review - keeping things theatrical

There was always bound to be a hint of melancholy watching George Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Try as you might to focus on the film, you can never quite shake the fact that you’re watching the final performance of Chadwick Boseman, whose life...

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Small Axe: Alex Wheatle, BBC One review - elliptical telling of a writer's troubled early life

Anyone who expects traditional narrative in Steve McQueen’s five Small Axe films about the black experience in the London of the 1970s and 80s will be disappointed. It seems to me that the most experimental of the four so far screened, Lovers Rock,...

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One Man and His Shoes review - beautifully crafted, fast-paced documentary

“Black people, since the beginning of time, have always made things cool. Jazz, rock ’n’ roll… pick anything from a cultural standpoint and we have always been the arbitrators of cool,” says sports journalist Jamele Hill. “And it was really no...

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London Symphony Orchestra, Hasan, LSO St Luke's review - dances great and small

Big orchestras to serve the late romantic masterpieces and contemporary blockbusters still aren’t the order of the Covid-era day, even in streamed events, at least not in the UK. The London Symphony Orchestra is so far unique in bigging up the...

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Miss Juneteenth review - a ray of Texan sunshine

Beauty queen pageants have long been ripe for parody, from their plastic glamour to the Machiavellian competitiveness. Miss Juneteenth opts for a much more nuanced approach, using the pageant as a focal point for a mother and daughter navigating...

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Album: Alicia Keys - Alicia

Alicia Keys is a puzzling mixture. On the one hand she’s the hyper-achieving, multi-platinum, 752-Grammy-winning America’s sweetheart, all dimply smiles, positive-thinking ultra sincerity and the kind of showbiz over-emoting and singing-technique-as...

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Rocks review - impressively well-crafted neo-realist drama

Rocks is a beautifully made slice of neo-realist filmmaking which deserves to get a wide audience but may well slip off the radar in the current climate. It really should be experienced in a cinema as the camerawork by Hélène Louvart is stunning and...

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Kaleidoscope Collective, Wigmore Hall online – playing with panache, as if to a live audience

If it all comes across as vividly as this on screen, imagine what it would have been like to witness in person. Which quite a few of us very nearly did, until we had to be disinvited owing to changed government guidelines. Hopefully the move back to...

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Lovecraft Country, Sky Atlantic review - Misha Green, Jordan Peele and JJ Abrams take us on horror-driven road trip

The timing couldn’t be more perfect for a series like Lovecraft Country (Sky Atlantic) in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. Here we have a spectacular show in which fantasy, horror and America’s racist legacy collide with remarkable...

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