Despite his place as “the Architect of Rock and Roll,” singer never received a Grammy nomination during his lifetime
Little Richard: I Am Everything was among the nominees for the 2024 Grammy Awards’ Best Music Film, with the nomination marking the first-ever for both the “Architect of Rock and Roll” and production company Rolling Stone Films (yes, this Rolling Stone).
The film, directed by Lisa Cortés and executive produced by Dee Rees, delved into the musical genius and transgressive power of the pioneer, who laid the foundation for rock music with singles like “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally.”
Despite the singer’s legacy and his indisputable place among music’s greatest talents, Little Richard never received a Grammy Award nomination or won in a competitive category over the course of his entire career; unfortunately for Little Richard (born Richard Penniman), his biggest hits and most impactful songs predated the establishment of the Grammy Awards in 1959. (Richard did receive a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 1993.)
“One of the organizing principles of the film is to give the mic to Richard, to let him tell his story,” Cortés previously told Rolling Stone of the film, which premiered at Sundance in January 2023 before arriving on CNN in September. “To give him the agency that oftentimes, through the course of his life, he felt he had been denied. And by giving him the mic, we’re able to have what is hopefully an immersive experience of the cradle-to-grave story.”
Little Richard: I Am Everything will face off against the David Bowie film Moonage Daydream, the Tupac Shakur film Dear Mama, and concert films Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now and Kendrick Lamar: Live From Paris, The Big Steppers Tour in the Best Music Film category.
Cortés added, “So many people when they see this film talk about Prince. From dance to his makeup choices (laughs), outfits, and electric—you know, [Prince] leads with the guitar…as opposed to Richard, who leads with the piano as his main instrument. But it’s the same energy that they’re both unleashing. I think it is fair to say you don’t have Lil Nas X, you don’t have Prince—we might not have Lizzo—if you didn’t have Little Richard.I think it’s intergenerational. That’s what I like about this film. You might have grown up with [Little Richard], or this could be your first introduction. But there’s some great music, and there’s something poignant: it is spiritual, and it always has the spirit of rock and roll.”