Three Longs & Three Shorts

What happened after a boxer, a revolutionary, a singer and a football star met in a 1960s hotel room

Earlier this month, several Indian celebrities were criticised for tweeting what seemed like paraphrased messages around why outsiders shouldn’t meddle in India’s matters (in this case the farmer protests). This has triggered a debate around the role and responsibility if any, of celebrities in influencing public opinion on critical social and political issues. In recent times, American footballer Colin Kaepernick and German soccer player Mesut Ozil have used their popularity to take a stance on sensitive social issues around race and religion. But one of the cases of celebrities standing up for a cause that we are fond of, is that of Cassius Marcellus Clay, better known as Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxing champion. A recently released movie – ‘One night in Miami’ involving Ali and his two celebrity friends being exhorted by their other revolutionary friend – Malcolm X, to use their popularity for the cause of black equality, on the very night Ali won his first world title. The movie has received critical acclaim for the performances but this piece in The Washington Post gives context to the whole issue and what transpired with these four lives thereafter.