A Night in Miami: Cassius Clay and a historic evening to change the world


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Una Noche en Miami: Cassius Clay y una velada histórica para cambiar el mundo

One of the best movies of the year available on streaming platforms is One Night in Miami, which involves Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) and his friendship forged with three other key figures in the civil liberties movement in the United States during the troubled 1960s.

Clay, James brown, Malcom X Y Sam cooke are presented in the film One Night in Miami (Regina king, 2020) with extensive creative credentials during the post-victory evening that catapulted him into the world heavyweight champion.

The key date in the plot, inspired by real events, is February 25, 1964. Clay stepped into the ring at the old Miami Beach convention center to challenge the monarch Sonny liston.

With the bets against him by 7 to 1 Clay surprised the world by stopping Ribbon in seven rounds to then become the youngest heavyweight world champion in history, at 22 years of age.

With nothing in mind Clay He just invited his friends to the fight: Malcom, Cooke Y Brown, the latter narrated the fight for the national radio station.

“Nobody expected him to win, that’s why there was no organized party,” he said. King, the director (nominated for Golden Globe) just this Friday at the driver’s night show Stephen Colbert.

One Night in Miami it narrates, using boxing as a dramatic hook, what happened hours after this moment that set the scene of boxing as a worldwide mass event in the final part of the 20th century.

It in turn marked the last time that Clay He used his Christian name (he would say ‘slave’), and the next day he announced to the press that his name was Cassius X, to eventually become Muhammad Ali and join the Nation of Islam.

The film is a love letter addressed to the civil worth of black citizens in America, and contrary to what most people might think, the main character surprisingly is not Clay (interpreted by Eli goree).

Are the tensions between Malcolm X (Kingsley ben-adir) Y Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) those that end up presenting the strongest knot in history, with the key participation of Brown (Aldis Hodge).

Truth and fiction

But did this unofficial celebration actually occur? The partial answer is yes.

They all went to the same room in a Miami hotel frequented by black men in the era of segregation laws promoted by Jim crow. What has never been known is actually what these four characters called by the screenwriter discussed in depth Kemp Powers like ‘The Black Avengers’.

It was this same who, after an arduous work of investigation with biographers, curators of the Smithsonian Museum and with accounts of the only survivor, Brown, reconstructed the encounter. Without oversimplifying and without exaggerating, the fictitious conversations about the racial tensions of the time, the values ​​of Islam against Christian beliefs, culture, music, death threats. And also, how each could better use their platform to give a voice to segregated African Americans in most of the American Union.

The film features each character in their area of ​​prominence: Malcolm X, as one of the most influential leaders of the Nation of Islam, an anti-integrationist body in the United States; to Cooke as one of the most powerful black singers and producers in the music industry in that era; to Brown, as the most prominent sports star when he played for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL; already Clay, as the nascent character who transcended beyond boxing, the fight for civil rights, culture, politics and entertainment.

Everyone discusses the most effective means (listening to music from Bob dylan) to achieve equality for black Americans. And also, their own responsibilities as individuals with a social responsibility and in a position of power.

As he wrote Meilan Solly for The Smithsonian Magazine: “The four friends emerge from their night of speeches with a renewed sense of purpose, each ready to take the next step in the fight against racial injustice. For Cooke, this translates into recording the hauntingly hopeful song ‘A change is gonna come’; for ClayIt means affirming his differences with the athletes who preceded him ”.

For Malcolm X actually meant breaking with the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, to think about preparing his authorized biography in the event of his death and to follow the last months of his life in leap to death, under surveillance by the FBI.

BrownFor his part, he gained the conscience to be clear that his career in the NFL, at 28 years old, was coming to an end. Tired of feeling exploited, of serving as an instrument for white men who adored his game, but not the value of his blackness.

Generally the discussions touch on broader points about men’s unique place in popular culture, as well as their contrasting examples of black empowerment, but despite being fictitious dialogues, they ring true.

The tragedy

That was the last time the four of them lived together. Cooke he was assassinated on December 11, 1964 in a hotel in California, at the hands of the manager on duty with a firearm in other strange conditions.

Malcolm X He was assassinated on February 21, 1965 in New York City, where three members of the Nation of Islam were arrested and prosecuted for this crime.

Ali He died of natural causes on June 15, 2016 in Arizona after complications related to Parkinson’s disease that afflicted him for the last 36 years of his life.

The only survivor is Brown. At 85 years of age, he lives preceded by incidents of gender violence with his ex-wives, which led him to spend time in prison.

One Night in Miami

He has three Golden Globe nominations, including best director, best supporting actor and best original song.

It debuted at the Vienna International Film Festival in September 2020

From January 15 it is available at Amazon prime.


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