We came across this documentary on the late jazz music icon Nat King Cole after spotting this article, which reports that filmmaker Jon Brewer, helmer of the upcoming film Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark, discovered a previously unreleased track by Cole while doing research for the film.
The title Afraid of the Dark alludes to a time when Madison Avenue was “afraid of the dark” as it was unlikely that a black man – “the only black television star in Hollywood” – was spotlighted prominently on Network television. The documentary, which features interviews with Harry Belafonte, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Aaron Neville and his widow Maria Cole, will be released in the UK on April 14 by Universal Music.
Here’s more about the film:
Imagine what it would feel like to be the ONLY black television star in Hollywood at a time when the KLU KLUX KLAN acted out violently against BLACK persons, when America groaned under the weight of segregation and prejudice.
Imagine being in possession of a natural talent so great, so unique and disarming that these issues were seemingly swept to one side to allow you to perform and be acknowledged for this gift, yet behind closed doors they were trying to think of a way to package you as something you were not: white.
Some of these shocking stories have never been told before, speaking a wider truth of the national climate at the time, and beg the question “how far have we come?”
Director Jon Brewer is given exclusive access to archive held by the estate, which will be revealed for the first time in this film; honouring the man and his journey and the passing of a true icon, but also revealing his feelings behind his ultimate calling as a “beacon of hope” to the legions of the oppressed.