Wattstax - The Special Edition:
Wattstax the concert and Wattstax the film were unprecedented events for the Los Angeles African-American community and a source of great pride. In the weeks surrounding the filming of the concert, the predominately African-American film crews took to the streets, recording candid interviews with local African-Americans and capturing a unique, unvarnished view of the Watts community.
The crew also filmed then little known comic Richard Pryor's biting insights on the black experience which frame the entire Wattstax movie. The mise-en-scene of Wattstax is all undiluted summer of '72 funk, jive and soul as expressed in and around the streets of Watts. Interspersed throughout Wattstax - The Special Edition are the dynamic fashion, knowing humor, indomitable courage, uncanny insight, and undeniable style of Black Los Angeles.
From conception to realization, Stax Records was the driving force behind staging the Wattstax concert in conjucntion with The Watts Summer Festival. They had the foresight and vision to commission a documentary of not just the concert, amazing as it was, but of African-American life in and around Watts as well. The original 1972 Film Production Notes, provide the story within the story of Wattstax - The Special Edition. To delve more deeply into the backstory of Wattstax visit the Wattstax Bilbliography.