Little Richard's Iconic Legacy Celebrated in New Documentary

Photo:  Andy Lyons (Getty Images)
Photo: Andy Lyons (Getty Images)

We really don’t talk enough about Little Richard. Though the music legend never failed to remind the world that he invented rock ‘n roll, everyone should be holding him up as a game changer and a groundbreaker the way we do with artists like Elvis Presley, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Hits like “Tutti Frutti,” “Lucille” and “Long Tall Sally” inspired countless artists to combine soul with rock and roll. In fact, in the new documentary, Little Richard: I Am Everything, many of those rock legends are giving him his due as their inspiration.

According to Deadline, the film, which is set for release in theaters and on digital April 21, explores Richard’s life through archive footage, while “interviews with family, musicians, and cutting-edge Black and queer scholars…reveals how Richard created an art form for ultimate self-expression, yet what he gave to the world he was never able to give to himself.”

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Little Richard: I Am Everything - Official Trailer | Documentary by Lisa Cortés | Opens April 21

The movie also makes a point of acknowledging his impact on the LGBTQ+ community, showing that even though he was never able to be truly open with himself, he definitely gave others someone to look up to. If he debuted today, we would revere Richard and salute him the way we do with artists like Lil Nas X, Frank Ocean, Janelle Monáe, and even a legend like Elton John. They are all celebrated for being their unapologetic selves and finding space in an industry that wanted them to change. None of this is possible without Little Richard.

“What I love is that in the mid-1950s he was saying he was a king. He was claiming a space for him that was denied for most Black people,” director Lisa Cortés told Deadline at the Sundance Film Festival. “It’s a time of Emmett Till’s murder. And Little Richard shows up at the same time declaring himself in a world that can be oftentimes dangerous for non-normative people.”

Yes, we’ve previously gotten dramatic stories about his life, but to hear Little Richard and those he’s directly influenced talk about his legacy should be fascinating.

Little Richard: I Am Everything is scheduled for release in theaters and on digital on April 21.

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