Singer and actor Sammy Davis Jr.’s career flourished at a time when the Civil Rights and Black Power movements transformed the prevailing assimilationist narratives that plagued Black communities. Despite challenging the color barriers that ruled mid-20th century entertainment, the entertainer’s support of Richard Nixon fed a long-prevailing image of his being out-of-step with Black America. “Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me,” which PBS aired last night (February 19), explores the contradictions and personal identity crises that guided Davis’ tumultuous path through pop culture. Watch it in full until March 19:
WATCH: Doc Illuminates Sammy Davis Jr.'s Place in Black America
“Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me” explores the late entertainer’s struggles with stardom and his role in an evolving Black America.
Colorlines Screenshot of an archival photograph of Sammy Davis Jr., taken from his estate's Facebook page on February 20, 2019.