“Sammy Davis whole life was about confronting obstacles. His gift was his talent his curse was being black in America.” ‘Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me’ examines the complex and complicated life of Davis’ vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.
“It’s no fun to walk into a place you’re going to play and be told we’ve had 14 boom threats.” Often billed as the “greatest living entertainer in the world” Sammy Davis Jr. was a gifted singer, dancer, and actor. He’s best known as a member of Frank Sinatra’s Vegas Rat Pack clique, with whom he made films and appeared in concert.
“Hanging out with Sinatra and those guys increased his cool factor, he’s one of the boys.” Davis frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America; he was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority. “Sammy saw himself as somebody who’s breaking new ground for black people but there was definitely the perception that he was a sell-out.”
“He couldn’t be accepted in the white community he couldn’t be accepted in the black community but he had a vision for himself that was bigger than white or black. Even if you win you don’t win.” Featuring new interviews with such luminaries as Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, with never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and excerpts from his electric performances in television, film and concert, ‘Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me’ explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory blazed across the major flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.
“Sammy was show business from the tip of his toes to the top of his head. He again and again would say I’m not going to do it your way.” Directed by Sam Pollard and written by Laurence Maslon ‘Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me’ will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Source: YouTube, PBS