Athlete. Activist. Champion
“Citizen Ashe” follows the life and career of Arthur Ashe, from his on-court success to his activism off of it and his death from AIDS-related complications in 1993. Co-directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Rex Miller and Sam Pollard, the doc explores Ashe’s legacy as both a humanitarian and a tennis player.
Using a blend of archival newsreel and family footage, Miller and Pollard take viewers along Ashe’s personal evolution, beginning with a youth deeply influenced by his early tennis mentor and the death of his mother. His elegant technical form helped him play at the highest of elite levels in tennis, a sport which, even today, has few non-white professional players. Contemporary interviews with Ashe’s widow, Jeanne Moutousammy-Ashe, his brother, Johnnie Ashe, as well as fellow tennis legends Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Donald Dell, and Lenny Simpson, and activist Prof. Harry Edwards, illustrate the cultural resonance of his historic Grand Slam wins, and how he managed a quiet, stoic dignity in public, despite the racism he endured throughout his life and career. He really is an inspiration who used his celebrity to focus attention on injustice in America, and beyond.