Wattstax

Wattstax

The legendary "black Woodstock," now restored and digitally remixed is a documentary of the epochal 1972 concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum mounted by black record label Stax to help rebuild Watts after the ’65 riots. Featuring incendiary performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, the Staple Singers, the Emotions, the Bar-Kays and other greats of soul, R&B and gospel it is intercut throughout with biting humour from a then little-known Richard Pryor.

Wattstax is more than a concert film as it incorporates footage from the ’65 riots, images of clapboard churches and abandoned storefronts and interactions among neighbours, friends and activists. It captures a heady moment in mid-1970s, "black-is-beautiful" African-American culture when Los Angeles's black community came together just seven years after the Watts riots to celebrate its survival and a renewed hope in its future.

Wattstax

  • Director: Mel Stuart
  • Year: 1973
  • Run Time: 103 mins
  • Country: USA
  • Rating: 18+