Synopsis: Documentary with a selection from a non-stop 7-hour musical event at Watts, the Los Angeles Coliseum, August 20, 1972. It's a sort of Woodstock event but with black artists, namely the groups Dramatics, Staple Singers, Rance Allen Group, Emotions, Bar Kays, Mel & Tim.
Director(s): Mel Stuart
Production: Columbia Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
103 min

All of us have something to say...

but some are never heard.

Over seven years ago,

the people of Watts stood together...

and demanded to be heard.

On a Sunday this past August

in the Los Angeles Coliseum...

over 100,000 black people came together...

to commemorate that moment

in American history.

For over six hours,

the audience heard, felt, sang...

danced, and shouted the living word...

in a soulful expression

of the black experience.

This is a film of that experience...

and what some of the people have to say.

That's what we did in 1965,

We all got crazy and went out...

and started burning up

our own neighborhood and sh*t.

That brought the man

on their own land, man.

The thing about it was it did something

constructive for the whole community.

That's the only beautiful thing

that went off.

Thank you, whitey.

That's the only way we communicate

with whitey, man.

You've never seen in a community

as many markets.

They've opened up

a Dr. Martin Luther King Hospital.

There's more black people in Watts...

that were formerly on county and state aid

that are employed right now.

Like your mama.

Your mama got a job

for the first time in 10 years.

- Dumb-ass motherf***er.

- I'm talking about black people...

- like you, n*gger.

- You know he's been drinking.

You lived on 103rd.

- He's not responsible.

- Sh*t. You know what?

Once half a whitey, n*gger...

It wouldn't do no good

to burn over in Inglewood.

Them motherfuckers ain't buying

second-grade meat.

Sh*t ain't getting better.

They're still putting offices

off into the area, man, sh*t.

- They're making money off it.

- But look, brother...

You'd be surprised...

how much that building,

that particular building...

will satisfy so many n*ggers.

- Pacify them a little.

- Make them think...

make them think it's progress.

Up until the point that we had a riot...

everybody said, "Those n*ggers

are all right, they're doing fine."

Then when we had a riot,

then the white man said:

"Something's wrong, 'cause these suckers

are burning down my store.

"Now I got to give these n*ggers

something because...

- "I thought they was happy."

- But what did he give them?

They've changed some for the best...

in an awful lot of cases for the worst...

and some they have not changed at all.

There's no difference in Watts now

than Watts '65.

California's a weird state because

they have laws for pedestrians.

Like, you cross the street,

they have laws for pedestrians...

but they don't have laws for people

at night...

when cops accidentally shoot people.

They accidentally shoot more n*ggers

out here than any place in the world.

Every time you pick up a paper,

"N*gger accidentally shot in the ass."

How do you accidentally shoot a n*gger

six times in the chest?

"Well, my gun fell and just went crazy."

It's going to be the best sound,

though, that's ever been.

- I can dig it.

- So we're sure of that.

That's beautiful. I work in sound, also.

I'm hip to it.

This is the biggest and the best

sound equipment around, in our opinion.

- How many people do you have there?

- Four, Mr. Van Peebles.

Okay, there'll be one more,

which will be five.

Now, of those five people

down at that end of the tunnel...

there will be three and two...

three on the gate

and two in the dressing rooms.

When the gate slows down

after the festival gets underway...

we may then put three

in the dressing room, and two.

Now, the rest of you gentlemen...

As the first Black Queen

of Miss Watts at the Watts Festival...

and the Watts Beauty Pageant...

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Wattstax" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 24 Jun 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/wattstax_23125>.

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