*Spoiler Ahead! The following article is about the final scene of “One Night In Miami”
This civil rights-era drama is now streaming on Amazon Prime, which portraying a meeting of the four mightily impressive leads each delivering a performance of power and stature that goes with the iconic figures they are portraying. Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke, as Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X, Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown, and Eli Goree as Cassius Clay portrayed at their best. It is a fictionalized meeting as they debate about some issue in the Miami hotel.
The film ends with a soulful performance of Cook’s “A Change is Gonna Come” on the show “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in February 1964, Which is beautifully intercut with the scenes of Malcolm and his family. The following scenes incorporate how his family escaping their house after a bomb attack. And Cassius changed his name to Muhammad Ali upon converting to Islam. In this scene, the song plays significantly to portray those scenes.
In summer 1963, Cooke received a copy of Bob Dylan’s album “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” which is a protest song. The song called “Blowin’ in the Wind” leaves a deep impact on Cooke’s mind and that became an anthem of both Vietnam anti-war and civil rights movements.
In March 1963, Cook moved to Washington. In October, when Cooke and his entourage were turned away from a whites-only Holiday Inn in Shreveport, Louisiana, despite having reservations. And directly force him to write “A Change is Gonna Come,” says Peter Guralnick, author of “Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke.”
Guralnick says “Sam refused to back down, his protestations were so long and loud that his wife, Barbara, was sure they were going to kill him. Eventually, he was arrested and thrown in jail for disturbing the peace. He did the show that night, but he never forgot the experience.”
The lyrics of “A Change is Gonna Come” is found in Cooke’s dream right after Christmas of 1963. And this song was recorded in January. He achingly conveys the physical and emotional toll of discrimination with the lyrics “It’s been too hard livin’ but I’m afraid to die,”.
In February 1964, “Change” appeared on Cooke’s 11th and final studio album, “Ain’t That Good News,” but it did not gather attention at the beginning. On “The Tonight Show” he performed for the first time publicly and achieved crossover pop success with Top 10 hits including “Chain Gang” and “Twistin’ the Night Away,”.
Cooke’s murder at age 33 on Dec. 11, 1964, and right after 2 weeks “Change” was released as a single track and later recorded by Otis Redding in 1965 and Aretha Franklin in 1967.
Artists like Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Celine Dion, and Patti LaBelle have given homage by performing the song “Change” in recent years. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked “Change” in 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list no 12th spot. The Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry for its historical and cultural importance selected this song for preservation in 2007.
It’s been almost 60 years now, still, this one is powerful yet relevant. Specifically, in light of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and the attack on the United States.
Hughes says ” Its central message is really at the core of the Black cultural experience in the United States, On the one hand, Cooke is describing the depth of the horror, the depth of the violence, the depth of the challenge. He is trying to be honest and get us to be honest about what that has meant in a white supremacist country with a white supremacist history”.
Apart from this, he tries to persevere, he’s hopeful, and yet he tries to survive. He is saying “Change is gonna come” but the way he’s saying is not sure as he is in the paper. That is what makes it fascinating.