Fascination with Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali’s complex friendship got a boost from pop culture over the last year or so: Theirs was a central relationship in Regina King’s debut feature “One Night In Miami,” and it was also highlighted in the EPIX series “The Godfather of Harlem,” starring Forest Whitaker. As interesting as these portrayals are, truth is often more compelling than fiction, which is exactly what Netflix’s provocative documentary “Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali” illustrates.The film is driven by the book “Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X” from Purdue professor Randy Roberts and Georgia Tech’s Johnny Smith, both of whom are consistent presences throughout the documentary.Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali 2021 Full Movie Download
Directed by Marcus A. Clarke (“Around the Way”) and produced by “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris (who, not too long ago, surprised the industry by dissolving his lucrative deal with Netflix), “Blood Brothers” brilliantly outlines the historical context in which these two powerhouses emerged.The documentary avoids the trope of presenting these men as exceptions to their time who rose above their circumstances. In contrast, each was very much a product of Jim Crow America, molded by the racism that marked their childhoods in Omaha, Milwaukee, and Lansing, Mich. for Malcolm Little, and Louisville for Cassius Clay.White supremacy, in the form of the Black Legion, literally killed Malcolm’s father Earl Little. As a follower of Marcus Garvey — the early 20th-century leader originally from Jamaica who led a mass movement, Pan African in scope and vision, emphasizing Black pride and self-sufficiency — Malcolm’s father actively stood up against racial injustice, losing his life as a result. Here Malcolm and Ali’s greatness lies not in their individual gifts but instead in their courageous decisions to use those gifts to challenge the white supremacy that marked not just their individual lives but that of the entire Negro race, as it was then termed.