First I would like to wish everyone a great July 4th even though it is a hot summer night as I’m writing this. As I reflect on America’s history, I think about the biopic movies I’ve seen about people including theater star Josephine Baker, actress Dorothy Dandridge, singer Jim Morrison and the Doors, Ray Charles, jazz legend Charlie Parker, dictator Idi Amin, singer Tina Turner, and civil rights leader Malcolm X. But there are also so many people that biopic movies have not been created about yet and here are a few people that I would like to see biopics about.
When it comes to someone who set high standards for future jazz vocalists, one must consider the legacy of Ella Fitzgerald. She really broke records not just on a national level but also internationally and on my radio show I sometimes play songs from her classic concert in Berlin in the 1960s. The way she scatted in her songs was playful yet with a touch of sophistication, and she was also a gracious person.
This jazz legend was his own version of cool and it showed through most of his albums. Whenever I hear his music I think about a group of hipsters sitting in these smoky clubs or a group of youngsters during the mod era discussing politics and the arts.
Then again, maybe it’s best that a biopic not be done about this legend because I would be concerned that the mainstream Hollywood bigwigs will not produce this movie in a way that gives Coltrane the respect he deserves. If a movie were produced about his life, I prefer that it be produced by an independent filmmaker who understands the jazz genre well.
Ida B Wells
Ida B Wells was a writer, publisher and anti-lynching activist who was influential in advocating for the end to lynching throughout the South and in fact, it led to her having to leave the South after being threatened by the establishment where she lived.
Tropicalia Music Movement of Brazil in the 1960s
In the 1960s Brazil became a military dictatorship and it lasted until the early 80s. During the 1960s Brazil was influenced by rock artists from the United States and the UK and they created their own style of rock and funk influenced music which became Tropicalia. Some of the key players in this movement include Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Elis Regina and Edu Lobo as well as Os Mutantes.
I’m tired of hearing about the negative side of Haiti and while we should discuss the poverty and other current social issues facing Haiti, we forget about the legacy of Toussaint L’Overture, a slave who was instrumental in overthrowing French rule over Haiti along with others during a slave rebellion. When this occurred Haiti successfully defeated French colonization and it later became its’ own nation although it was later occupied by the United States and the nation fell to a dictatorship through the latter half of the 20th century thanks to Francois Duvalier and his son Jean Claude Duvalier.
Ho Chi Minh
This longtime leader of Vietnam led an interesting life not only as the leader of Vietnam but also as a key figure in the independence of Vietnam from France in the early 1950s. If someone produces a movie about him, they should touch on the role he played in the Vietnam War as it relates to the United States.
This legendary bandleader and pianist worked wonders with his orchestra and he exhibited musical showmanship and class in an era where many African Americans’ musical talents were often downplayed by the establishment of that time.
Zora Neale Hurston
While some books, scholarly articles and a small number of documentaries dealt with her life, I don’t think a full biopic movie has been created about writer, anthropologist and playwright Zora Neale Hurston. I really enjoy her work because it presented a down to earth yet still respectable view of African American life and she was well versed in the folkloric African traditions and how they became a part of African American culture.
This should be an interesting biopic since most Americans and even those outside the US still enjoy Hershey bars and Hershey Kisses, and there may be some history buffs who want to know how this company started.
There are so many more I can include but for now I wonder if these persons’ life stories would be brought to life in an accurate, fair and respectful way.