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When I Rise

Where to Watch When I Rise

NR
2010

When I Rise is a 2010 documentary film directed by Mat Hames. The film tells the story of Barbara Smith Conrad, a talented African-American mezzo-soprano from East Texas, who faced racism and discrimination during her days as a student at the University of Texas in the 1950s. The film takes its title from the African-American spiritual "I Will Not Stop Singing," which Conrad performed as a part of her graduation ceremony.

The film weaves together archival footage, interviews, and reenactments to create a rich and engaging portrait of Conrad's life and career. The documentary explores Conrad's early years, from growing up in a small town in East Texas to attending the segregated schools of the Jim Crow South. It shows how her passion for singing led her to the University of Texas, where she became a part of the opera program.

At UT, Conrad faced discrimination from both her fellow students and faculty members who refused to work with or support a Black student. When a controversy erupted over her casting in the lead role in the UT production of Dido and Aeneas, Conrad was removed from the role and replaced by a White student.

Despite the setbacks, Conrad persevered and went on to enjoy a successful career as a singer. The film follows her journey as she moves to New York City and becomes a part of the vibrant arts scene there. We see her performing at the Metropolitan Opera, at the White House for President Lyndon B. Johnson, and in concerts around the world.

The film also delves into Conrad's personal life, highlighting her relationships with her family, her husband Charles, and her children. Through interviews with Conrad's loved ones, we get a sense of the impact that her music had on her family and how her experiences at UT shaped her as a person.

When I Rise also touches on the broader context of the civil rights movement and the struggle for racial equality in America. The documentary shows how Conrad's story intersects with the larger narratives of the time, from the desegregation of schools to the rise of Black power.

Aside from Conrad, the film features interviews with a number of voices in the world of opera and classical music, including Harry Belafonte, who serves as a narrator and commentator throughout the film. Other notable figures include conductor James Levine, singer Jessye Norman, and composer William Bolcom.

One of the key strengths of When I Rise is the way in which it uses Conrad's story to explore larger themes of race, identity, and perseverance. The film is not just a biography of a single person; it is a reflection on the struggles that many African Americans faced during this period, and the ways in which they fought to overcome adversity.

Overall, When I Rise is a moving and thought-provoking documentary about one woman's journey to find her voice in the face of discrimination and hatred. With stunning visuals, powerful music, and compelling storytelling, it is a film that is sure to resonate with audiences of all backgrounds.

When I Rise is a Documentary movie released in 2010. It has a runtime of 74 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it mostly positive reviews, with an IMDb score of 8.4..

How to Watch When I Rise

Where can I stream When I Rise movie online? When I Rise is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent When I Rise for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

8.4/10
Director
Mat Hames
Stars
Harry Belafonte, Barbara Smith Conrad , Icy Simpson
Also directed by Mat Hames
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