Encore Broadcast Date: August 9, 2005
PBS Premiere: September 7, 2004
The legendary "black Woodstock" finally gets its due with a newly restored and digitally remixed Wattstax, Mel Stuart's documentary of the epochal 1972 concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 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 — plus biting humor from a then little-known Richard Pryor — Wattstax is more than a concert film. It also 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.