20th Century Icons on Kwesé Know (Ch 400)
20th Century Icons on Kwesé Know (Ch 400)
Kwesé Know (Ch 400) has an intriguing series of exclusive documentaries coming up in April, profiling some of the 20th century’s most extraordinary characters. The ‘I Am’ series comes from the American channel Spike, which is watched by almost 100 million viewers. Spike bills the series as: “an inside look at the lives of extraordinary individuals as told by their inner circle.”
These documentaries go behind the scenes of some 20th century icons, with never-before-seen footage, exclusive interviews and incisive commentary on what drove them to succeed. Catch these fascinating documentaries on Kwesé Know (Ch 400): I Am Ali (8 April at 21:00 CAT), I Am Bruce Lee (15 April at 21:00 CAT), I Am JFK Jr. (22 April at 21:00 CAT), and I Am Steve McQueen (29 April at 21:00 CAT).
Muhammad Ali – The Greatest
It would be impossible to write the story of the 20th century without devoting a few pages to Muhammad Ali. He was born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky in 1942 and went on to win Olympic gold in the light heavyweight boxing division in 1960. Four years later, after turning professional, he upset Sonny Liston to win the world heavyweight title. He then converted to Islam, denouncing his “slave name” and calling himself Muhammad Ali. He was drafted in 1966 to fight the Viet Cong but refused, saying: “They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me…” Ali felt it wrong to take up arms against a non-white race in a far-off land, when back home African Americans were still subjected to injustice. He paid for his beliefs, being banned from boxing for four years while in the prime of his career. Ali was a graceful mover who could out-punch and out-wit opponents. He invented the not-so-subtle art of pre-fight trash talk. He was a showman, a poet, an activist, and one of the most famous men to ever walk the planet.
Bruce Lee – Shapeless like water
Bruce Lee was also a fighter, poet and showman, and is the most famous martial artist of all time. Like Ali, he turned the brutish craft of fighting into a graceful ballet, a poetry of movement. Bruce Lee reinvented the Hong Kong martial arts genre for the West, with classics like Fist of Fury and Enter the Dragon. Lee trained in Wing Chun, but later combined other disciplines, eventually arriving at his own martial arts philosophy – Jeet Kune Do, which means ‘the way of the intercepting fist’. His famous creed: “Be formless …shapeless, like water.”
Steve McQueen – King of Cool
Bruce Lee died unexpectedly in 1973. He was only 32. Actor Steve McQueen was one the pall-bearers at his funeral. McQueen, who starred in iconic films like The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape, earning the nickname ‘King of Cool’ for his relaxed persona, easy manner, and onscreen likeability. He achieved fame during the height of the counter-culture movement in the 1960s, and this explains the success of his anti-hero persona. In 1974 he was the highest-paid movie actor in the world; audiences couldn’t get enough of his boyish charm and laidback style. Mistreated by his mother and deserted by his father, McQueen’s story is one of overcoming the odds to conquer the world of film.
John F Kennedy Jr. – Not a great man, a good man
John F Kennedy Jr. had the opposite challenge. He was born with a presidential silver spoon in the mouth. As the only son of President John F Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963, he was pressured to follow in his father’s footsteps and go into politics. But, with dashing good looks as well as a certain degree of self-understanding, JFK Jr. resisted the expectations of society and charted his own path. In the opinion of one interviewee in the documentary he believed he could not become a great man, so chose instead to be a good one. JFK Jr. died in 1999 when the light plane he was flying crashed into the sea, killing him as well as his older sister and his wife.
Don’t miss these exclusive, first-to-Africa, must-see documentaries on Kwesé Know (Ch 400).
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