Unsung Hollywood

Watch Unsung Hollywood

  • TV-PG
  • 2014
  • 7 Seasons
  • 7.7  (97)

Unsung Hollywood is a docuseries that focuses on the untold stories of some of Hollywood's most iconic African American actors, actresses, producers, and directors. The show was created by producer and director, Arthur Smith, and originally aired on TV One in 2014.

The show features interviews with the celebrities themselves, as well as their family members, friends, and colleagues. It seeks to uncover the hardships, obstacles and triumphs that these entertainers have faced in their careers, while also showcasing their immense talent, creativity, and influence on American popular culture.

Gary Anthony Williams, Charnele Brown, and Joe Torry serve as the narrators for the show, with each episode focusing on a different artist or group. Some of the notable personalities featured on the show include actor John Amos, filmmaker Robert Townsend, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, and comedian Redd Foxx, among others.

One of the show's standout features is its use of archival footage and photographs, which not only serve to supplement the narratives being told but also offer glimpses into the era in which these entertainers were making their mark on Hollywood. The show pays close attention to the cultural and social climate of the times, highlighting how the artists featured were impacted by and influenced American popular culture.

For example, in the episode dedicated to Robert Townsend, the show explores his creative process in creating the iconic film "Hollywood Shuffle," which took aim at the lack of diversity and stereotypical portrayals of Black actors in Hollywood. The episode details Townsend's struggles in getting the film financed and produced, and how he ultimately found success by tapping into the burgeoning independent film scene of the time.

In the episode dedicated to Sheryl Lee Ralph, the show highlights her trailblazing work as an actress and singer, as well as her efforts to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Black community during the 1980s and 1990s. Through interviews with Ralph herself, as well as her friends and colleagues like Loretta Devine and Jenifer Lewis, the episode delves into Ralph's personal life and professional journey, showcasing her resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

Throughout its run, Unsung Hollywood garnered critical acclaim and a loyal following, with many noting its ability to bring to light the often-overlooked contributions of Black creatives in Hollywood history. The show was praised for its thorough research, sensitive storytelling, and engaging interviews, and was seen as a much-needed addition to the broader conversation about representation and diversity in media.

Overall, Unsung Hollywood is a fascinating and informative show that sheds light on the complex lives and careers of some of Hollywood's most talented and influential African American entertainers. Through its combination of interviews, archival footage, and cultural context, the show offers a rare and insightful window into the world of Black Hollywood and the impact it has had on American society as a whole.

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  • Premiere Date
    February 26, 2014
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (97)