Blair Underwood will lend his voice to “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” a feature length documentary directed by Deborah Riley Draper, which explores the trials and triumphs of 18 African American Olympians in 1936.
Set against the turbulent atmosphere of a racially divided America, and torn between boycotting Hitler’s Olympics or participating in the Third Reich’s grandest affair, the film follows 16 men and two women before, during and after their heroic turn at the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. They represented a country that considered them second-class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism. They carried the weight of a race on their shoulders and did the unexpected with grace and dignity. This unheralded story goes beyond Jesse Owens as a vital part of history – and is as relevant today as it was almost 80 years ago. The film includes rarely-seen footage and interviews with 1936 athletes and spectators, as well as other notables including former Olympians Isaiah Thomas & Carl Lewis.
The filmmakers are also working closely with cultural and academic institutions to help celebrate the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Olympics and connect the story to a broader audience. They also plan to screen the film in Spring 2016 in Brazil.
“’Olympic Pride/American Prejudice’ is an inspiring and gripping documentary that delves into a poignant, yet forgotten chapter in American history. I am honored to join Deborah Riley Draper and her creative team in bringing this gem to the screen,” said Underwood.
Draper adds, “I am always honored to play a role in restoring the cultural inheritance of African Americans and all Americans. This story and the characters are remarkable and needs to be told. These 18 black Olympians are one of the first and greatest examples of collective civil action in sports and certainly and proudly are the forbearers of such actions like the University of Missouri Football team.”
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” is also executive produced by Dr. Amy Tiemann and Michael A. Draper and written by Deborah Riley Draper, who produced the award-winning/critically-
The film is slated to hit theaters Summer 2016.
For more information on Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, visit www.1936olympicsmovie.com.