Al Sharpton takes a bow, with Spike, to close out Tribeca Festival
Spike Lee, a longtime friend who cast Sharpton in a small role in 1992′s Malcolm X, cheered Al Sharpton for being there “from the get-go, fighting the good fight.”
On the eve of Juneteenth, the Tribeca Festival came to a close with the Rev. Al Sharpton documentary Loudmouth in a premiere that united on stage Sharpton and Spike Lee — two towering New York figures who have each been vilified and celebrated for careers championing racial justice.
The event held Saturday at the Borough of Manhattan Community College celebrated Sharpton with the kind of big-screen portrait that has been commonplace for an older generation of civil rights leaders, but had, until Loudmouth, eluded the 67-year-old activist. Loudmouth contextualises Sharpton’s legacy as an extension of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rep. John Lewis and others, while at the same time chronicling his unique longevity despite plenty of naysayers along the way.
“Shoot your best shot,” Sharpton said in a Q&A after the film. “I’m still here.”
Lee, a longtime friend who cast Sharpton in a small role in 1992′s Malcolm X, cheered Sharpton for being there “from the get-go, fighting the good fight.”
“Everybody takes blows but you got up and keep stepping,” said Lee, who joined Sharpton and John Legend, executive producer of the film, on stage. “And you’re still doing it today.”
Loudmouth, which is seeking distribution at Tribeca, was introduced by Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro. He drew a firm distinction between Sharpton and other “loudmouths” on today’s airwaves and at the Jan. 6 hearings in Washington.
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“How interesting that the committee and the Rev are on the same page exposing the lies and the liars who threaten our democracy,” said De Niro. “They want to take away our right to vote and deny us social justice. While Washington deals with the lies and the big lie, tonight you’re in the company of patriot who challenges us to get to the truth.”
Loudmouth, directed by Josh Alexander, is framed around a sit-down interview with Sharpton, who chronicles his story as a constant fight to keep social justice in the headlines. “Nobody calls me to a keep a secret,” Sharpton said at the memorial service for George Floyd.