This PBS American Masters documentary, chronicles Charlie Pride’s rising from extreme poverty to becoming a major country western singer icon of the 1950’s until his death last year at age 86–another tragic victim of Covid. In some ways it is a trajectory similar to that of many other country western singers. What makes Pride’s tale different is that he is African American. Of course, that is a major focus of the film. And the “squirmy”part. You can imagine all the small and large humiliations he endured in order to penetrate the white enclave of the genre–And Still He Persisted. We applaud the fruits of that persistence but at the same time have to deal with a gut wrenching anger that he had to go through all of that shit to get there. In spite of the vaguely patronizing tone of the film, it is worth watching: he had a beautiful voice, was a great song-writer, and was an extraordinarily likable person with an incredible history. An hour well-spent.
“Charlie Pride–I’m Just Me” (Amazon$ or Kanopy-Free)