Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me
Dir. Sam Pollard | 100 min
Kick off the Capital Jewish Museum’s Groundbreaking Festival with an evening exploring the way music impacts culture and how culture impacts music. In partnership, the Capital Jewish Museum and JxJ, will screen the award-winning documentary, Sammy Davis Jr: I’ve Got To Be Me, followed by a moderated virtual discussion on Saturday, September 12, at 8:00 PM with Dr. Dwandalyn Reece (Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Music and Performing Arts at National Museum of African American History and Culture) and Dr. Lauren Strauss (Professor of Modern Jewish History at American University). Registration for the program gets you access to both the film (beginning September 9) and the September 12 conversation.
Sammy Davis, Jr.’s career was indisputably legendary; so vast and multi-faceted that it was dizzying in its scope and scale. And yet, his life was complex and contradictory.
Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and swirling political change. He was the veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions; he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of Black America; and he was the most public Black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority.
Featuring interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kim Novak, and never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory blazed across the major flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.