Stax hosts private screening for special edition DVD - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: Alisa Nave, 9/20/04, 10:16am

Stax hosts private screening for special edition DVD

By: Donna Davis

The year was 1972. The place is Los Angeles California. In the wake of the Watts Riots, African Americans were disenfranchised, and angry. Memphis based Stax Music wanted to change that. "So even though, healed to a certain extent, "said former Stax President Al Bell. The event was called Wattstax. It was the Black Woodstock. It is a six hour concert to raise money for Watts. Stax sent its staple of artists like Rufus Thomas. "I said, can I ask you something? Ain't I'm clean?" The event was an expression of self respect. For a community trying to emerge from an era of riots and torching its own neighborhoods; the message was loud and clear. "We may poor. But I AM somebody." "And so to be there where you could to express themselves," said the Reverend Jesse Jackson. The concert and Stax music would inspire African Americans and musicians for years to come. "Increasingly, as we head into a soulless Millennium, the soul of the past rings louder and heavier," said Public Enemy Rapper Chuck D. Reverend Jackson and others toured today's Stax museum recalling Wattstax and its documentary about the lives of everyday Los Angelans. A documentary that was deemed too controversial by mainstream Hollywood. Stax hopes the special edition DVD will teach a new generation how relevant the message was and still is. Wattstax was the largest gathering of African Americans at that time second only to Dr. Kings March on Washington. Isaac Hayes, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Al Bell and Chuck D were all at Stax for tonight's screening. The Wattstax DVD is now for sale at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

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