In Remembrance – Malcolm X : ‘One Night in Miami’

Malcolm X first interview for British TV (1963)source: Washington Post
published: 16 January 2021

It is one of the most famous moments in sports history: the February 1964 match when a braggadocious 22-year-old named Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston in Miami Beach to win the world heavyweight boxing championship.

Yet what happened in the hours that followed is little known: Clay – soon to be known as Muhammad Ali – celebrated his triumph in a room at the Hampton House Motel in Miami’s Brownsville neighborhood that was frequented by [many] Black celebrities.

Accompanying Clay to the two-story lodge were three friends who had been in the smoky, crowded Convention Hall when Liston surrendered: Nation of Islam minister Malcolm X, crossover soul singer Sam Cooke and Cleveland Browns running back and future Hall of Famer Jim Brown, then all in the prime of youth.

But what did the men rap about? Very little is known about that, which makes the conversation a perfect playground for an imaginative writer. That would be Kemp Powers, who penned the well-praised 2013 play “One Night in Miami” before writing a screenplay for the movie of the same name. The film, the first directed by Regina King, debuted on Amazon Friday to strong reviews.

[Malcolm X didn’t fear being killed: ‘I live like a man who is dead already’]

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