schedule

Wattstax

BAMPFA Collection

featuring

Richard Pryor, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, The Bar-Kays,

“Grittier and funkier than Motown and with stronger gospel and fewer pop elements, the Stax sound became immensely popular in the second half of the 1960s. The label’s director, Al Bell, a black entrepreneur strongly committed to both civil rights and economic advancement, planned a concert to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 1965 insurrection in Watts, a deindustrialized and impoverished black Los Angeles suburb. Held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in August 1972, with tickets priced at only $1, the seven-hour concert featuring celebrated Stax artists attracted more than 100,000 people, and became known as the “Black Woodstock.” To the concert’s rhetoric emphasizing autonomous black empowerment and cultural solidarity, the film added documentary interviews with people in the community and comic interludes featuring Richard Pryor, who asserts that ‘the audience heard, felt, sang, danced, and shouted the living word in a soulful expression of the black experience.’”

David E. James
FILM DETAILS 
Cinematographer
  • John A. Alonzo
Print Info
  • Color
  • 35mm
  • 103 mins
Source
  • BAMPFA
Permission
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment