37th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL Oct 30-Nov 3, 2024

37th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL October 30-November 3, 2024

Little Richard: I Am Everything

Little-Richard_-I-Am-Everything-Still Play Button

The screening will followed by a discussion led by A.D. Carson, UVA Assistant Professor of Hip Hop and the Global South

Lisa Cortés’ eye-opening documentary—fresh off its  debut at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival—explores the whitewashed canon of American pop music; shines a clarifying light on the Black, queer origins of rock ’n’ roll; and establishes the genre’s big bang: Richard Wayne Penniman.

Testimonials from legendary musicians and cultural figures, Black and queer scholars, Penniman’s family and friends, and interviews with the artist himself all exuberantly reclaim a history that was willfully appropriated by white artists and institutions. Cortés updates the canon with a treasure trove of rarely seen archival footage of Penniman. Among the gems are scenes with his Black and queer predecessors and contemporaries, like Sister Rosetta Tharpe: the mother of rock ’n’ roll who gave 14-year-old Penniman his first break. Cortés depicts Penniman’s complex journey as a conflicted revolutionary who careened between religion, sex, and rock ’n’ roll, navigating the extreme tensions of race and sexuality of his time. She reminds us that outsiders and outcasts can possess superpowers that, given the chance, can create new worlds for us all to dance in.

“The enthralling documentary that Little Richard deserves….jubilant and essential” -Variety

“The definitive documentary on a complicated icon” -Toronto Star

This screening is part of our 2023 VAFF at Violet Crown series.

Thank you to our Media Partners for Little Richard: I Am Everything:



Tuesday, March 21


7:00 PM


Violet Crown 5

Film Info

Director: Dir. Lisa Cortés

Runtime: 101 min.

Genre: Documentaries

Year: 2023

Country: United States

Language: English

Featuring: Mick Jagger, Billy Porter, John Waters, Tom Jones