Louis Armstrong’s Black and Blues: An interview with filmmaker Sacha Jenkins
Louis Armstrong’s Black and Blues unveils an intimate and honest portrayal of the innovative musician, capturing moments of his life through archival footage, scrap diaries and personal recordings. Filmmaker Sacha Jenkins brings them to the screen in a documentary-style format that intersperses collage animation with audio voiceover and visuals. Honouring the legendary jazz aficionado with his side of the story during the turbulent times of the American Civil War and the civil rights movement.
Armstrong started making audio recordings in the 1950s up until his death in 1971 at the age of 69, and, by Jenkins bringing them to light, we get to see how much segregation and racism seeped into the musician’s career, from “playing in 99 million hotels he couldn’t sleep in” to being told by a white boy, “You know, I don’t like negroes but you’re one son of a bitch I’m crazy about”.
Black and Blues is an honest look at his journey of stoic positivity, beautifully told from his perspective. The Upcoming had the pleasure of speaking with the filmmaker, Jenkins, about why he made this feature, how he wanted to approach it, what will surprise viewers and the decision to have American rapper Nas read out the narrative passages.
Louis Armstrong’s Black and Blues is released on Apple TV+ on 28th October 2022.