Culture

Watch Black History Month films on TBI TV with documentaries on Chuck Berry, Al Green, Michelle Obama and more

Chuck Berry performing during "Chuck Berry's Bandstand."

Chuck Berry performing during "Chuck Berry's Bandstand." Photograph by Irving Williamson, 1965 Missouri History Museum Photograph and Print Collection. Irving A. Williamson Collection n33946.

Black History Month is coming to a close but that doesn’t mean Black history disappears.

To mark Black History Month 2021, we have put together a new playlist on The Big Issue TV with a cast of stars from Michelle Obama to Al Green, via Tiger Woods.

Every month films are added to TBI TV, to be streamed wherever you are. The Black History Month playlist follows special collections of films for Earth Day, Women’s History Month, Pride Month, White Ribbon Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Plastic Free Month.

The Black History Month Playlist includes Gospel According to Al Green – one of the all-time great music documentaries. It tells the story of the southern soul singer’s journey from seductive soul sensation to spiritual leader.

But between these performances, director Robert Mugge captures Green in thoughtful conversation. He discusses his spiritual journey, the way he evolved from performer to preacher.

“The ingenuity, the class, the charisma, the steps, the movement, the hesitation… you take all of this that you learn in pop and R&B and use it to your best advantage,” Green says in the in-depth interview at the heart of the film.

No wonder Uncut magazine described the documentary as “one of the most joyful and powerful film profiles of a major musical artist ever made.”

There’s more music in Chuck Berry – Brown-Eyed Handsome Man as great musicians perform the singer’s classic songs, sometimes alongside the man himself.

Actor Danny Glover narrates as the film charts Berry’s incredible influence on the decades of music that followed after signing to Chess Records in Chicago in 1955.

There’s great footage of Berry walking Keith Richards through a rehearsal of ‘Carol’, Linda Ronstadt lending her incredible voice to ‘Back in the USA’, Paul McCartney singing ‘Brown-Eyed Handsome Man’ and – a few decades earlier – George Harrison leading The Beatles as they play ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ in front of screaming fans.

Best of all might be Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Berry. The Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll and The Boss come together at last, performing the all-time classic ‘Johnny B Goode’.

By contrast, The Blackboard takes a serious (and award-winning) look at culture and community – and what it means to be Black in America – viewed through the lens of skateboarding culture.

Marquis Bradshaw’s film is smart and stylish, though-provoking and eye-opening. The Blackboard features pro-skaters Jabari Pendleton, Karl Watson and Ron Allen as they detail life inside the skating subculture and how they broke down barriers as they took up what was previously considered felt taking up such a stereotypically ‘white’ sport in the US.

Michelle Obama: First Lady of Style is, as the title suggests, a film assessing the impact of the former First Lady on the way we dress.

Rather than being all ears for Obama’s activism and skill as a public speaker, this documentary instead focuses on the way her iconic outfits impacted the fashion scene during her time in the White House. Expert voices from the fashion world talk about bold colour choices and her trademark shift dress and cardigan combo.

Documentaries on sporting legends complete the playlist with Tiger Woods: Prodigy charting the rise and fall of a golfing legend, plus short films on Muhammad Ali and Jesse Owens.

To subscribe for the introductory rate of £3.99 per month go to thebigissue.tv

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