Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali will land on Netflix in September and will explore the friendship between one of the world’s most prominent civil rights activists and the greatest boxer of all time.
The documentary is an adaptation of Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith’s 2016 book, Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X and was produced by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris. It includes interviews from relatives such as Ali’s younger brother Rahman Ali and Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz.
Shabazz, who is currently working on a TV series about her late father, says in the doco’s trailer, “For my father to take his wife and his babies, and go to [Ali’s] home meant that my father trusted him 100 percent.”
The two iconic men, whose friendship spanned three years, connected over the hardships of being Black leaders in America — particularly in the Civil Rights era. It was Malcolm who inspired Ali, whose birth name was Cassius Clay, to convert to the Nation of Islam.
In the trailer, Reverend Al Sharpton says, “They defied a whole generation to be themselves and be bold,” while Ali’s daughter Maryum says, “My father wanted to be great. There are things that Malcolm taught him that my father kept with him until his last day.”
Blood Brothers also details the strained parts of their relationship and their disagreement over the leadership of the Nation of Islam. The documentary will show newly released clips that help provide a timeline for their friendship and fallout.
The film’s official synopsis reads: “Blood Brothers tells the extraordinary and ultimately tragic story of the friendship between two of the most iconic figures of the 20th century: Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, and Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam’s — and black America’s — most incendiary and charismatic leader.
“This was the unlikeliest of friendships – the brash Olympic Champion who spoke in verse to the amusement of the white press and the ex-con intellectual-turned-revolutionary who railed against the evils of white oppression and dismissed sports as a triviality. But their bond was deep, their friendship real.”
Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, as he was about to make a speech in front of 400 people at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York.
Malcolm was shot 21 times by his assailants (who received life sentences in 1966) with his autopsy identifying gunshot wounds to his chest, left shoulder, arms and legs.
Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali premieres on Netflix on September 9. Watch the trailer below.