Netflix's ‘Blood Brothers’: The Legacy of Friendship between Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali
Netflix just released the first trailer for the upcoming documentary, Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali, which tells the extraordinary story behind the friendship of Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, two of the most important figures of American history.
The documentary, produced by Kenya Barris, includes historical footage and interviews with family and friends. Ali’s younger brother, Rahman, and X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, are some of them.
The trailer features how faith and politics helped bring Malcolm X and Ali together. They were both passionate about Islamic conversion and the fight for Black freedom in America.
The Netflix trailer includes footage of the duo giving quotes and speeches fervently.
Inspired by a book of the same name, written by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith, the documentary celebrates the friendship between the two, but it also chronicles the strained parts of their relationship and the fallout caused by their diverging beliefs about faith.
Friendship and Faith
It is no secret that Ali and X were like family.
The two first met in 1962, when Ali was still Cassius Marcellus Clay. His friend, Sam Saxon, a Black Muslim, invited him and his brother and took them to a Savior’s Day rally in Chicago, an annual event hosted by the Nation of Islam.
Saxon knew Clay had been looking for spiritual guidance and introduced him to X, the public face of the Nation of Islam. As X spoke at the rally, Clay was mesmerized and it left a profound impression on him. X, too, was charmed by Clay’s enthusiasm and aura.
Their reciprocal intrigue led them to spend a lot of time together and cultivate a friendship. X, who was 16 years older than Clay, was like a father and a big brother. Clay had become fascinated with the Nation, while X knew Clay could bring in more followers for the Nation.
The US government considered the Nation a threat, so Clay kept his faith to himself until he beat Sonny Liston, the reigning heavyweight champion. Then, several days after his victory, the boxer announced he was indeed a member of the Nation.
Fallout and Regrets
He changed his name from Cassius Clay to Cassius X to Muhammad Ali, chosen for him by the Nation of Islam’s leader, Elijah Muhammad. By this time, X had been removed from the Nation after a fallout with the leader.
X left the Nation and urged Ali to join him. But unfortunately, Ali was already a staunch believer in the Nation of Islam’s leader and the religion he’d founded. He saw X’s actions as an act of betrayal.
The blood brothers had a fallout, and after that, they only met once in Ghana, outside the Ambassador Hotel.
When X came to greet Ali, Ali turned him away, publicly announcing their fallout. A wanted man, X was assassinated early the following year.
Blood Brothers will feature never-before-seen archival footage that provides a timeline for their friendship and fallout.
It will be available to stream via Netflix on September 9.