Screening and Ticketing Info can be found at LittleRichardDocumentary.com
Anyone who knew who Richard Wayne Penniman was before becoming the musician that he is really requires knowing the era and influences that turned him into Little Richard, I Am Everything. This cinematic presentation is getting special one day screenings around America (please check local listings), and I hope it’ll arrive at streaming services soon afterwards.
What’s offered is a perfect introduction and a look back at music history. Throughout the 50s and 60s, race relations through the Bible belt were difficult and when it pertained to music, tracking everything that went on is a scholarly study in itself! To talk about how Penniman struggled is just as important. Nearly every beat and problem is explored, including his homosexuality.
While what’s revealed isn’t too deep, since we’re dealing with anecdotes and thoughts from scholars and those who knew him best, like fellow musician Billy Porter and film scholar John Waters. The information they and many others present is worth noting; he influenced many later talents, which includes The Beatles and the trail goes down the alphabet to also include Ziggy (David Bowie) Stardust. To study each group would mean turning this film into a series, and who knows, that might get developed should this work by Lisa Cortés sell well.
Newcomers will find this Little Richard, I Am Everything very revealing. We even learn about his switch to gospel, and a lot more. Although he’s a man of contradictions, since he’s very likely to have angered The Lord because of his past. He’s more than a rocket man. The archival footage is better because it reveals how he became the “Architect of Rock and Roll,” and as for the newer material, it’s mostly about how he kept going during his turbulent years. Even Elvis conceded the title to him. But what makes this work very special is in showing how he beat his demons during his road to success. That’s no easy feat.
5 Stars out of 5