As an outspoken apologist for Stalin and agitator for civil rights Paul Robeson had many enemies, including the CIA. His passport was taken away, his career curtailed and his health threatened.
First assigned to the Robeson case in 1949, fictional retired FBI agent Michael Vincent re-examines his story, focussing on the dramatic period from 1950-1961.
- Lenny Henry as Paul Robeson,
- Adjoa Andoh as Essie Robeson
- Corey Johnson as Michael Vincent
- Joanna Monro
- Alibe Parsons
- David Seddon
- Rufus Wright
- Alex Lanipekun
Robeson travelled all over Europe and America in the 1920's and 1930's, starring in London with Peggy Ashcroft, playing Othello on Broadway, making 11 films (mainly in the UK), and was the world's most famous black performer.In 1950 Paul Robeson has his passport taken away by the US authorities because of his political activities and his career is almost destroyed.
He continues to campaign tirelessly for civil rights in the USA but he cannot work abroad.
He corresponds with personal friends Kenyatta and Nkrumah and appears before the House of Un-American Activities.
He is married to Essie, who is his unofficial manager and he has had a string of very public affairs.
When his passport is finally restored in 1958 Robeson moves to Britain, playing Othello at Stratford and travelling the world giving concerts. He is back at the top again so his suicide bid in a Moscow hotel room in 1961 seems to come out of the blue. It is claimed that he was given hallucinogens by the CIA to force a mental breakdown.
Robeson never fully recovers.
Back in America Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and the new civil rights movement fail to acknowledge Robeson's political legacy, and his singing, although still popular, is no longer fashionable. In 1974 over 3,000 people attend his 75th birthday concert. Paul Robeson is too ill to go but sends a tape saying " I'm still the same Paul dedicated to the worldwide cause of humanity for freedom, peace and brotherhood".