CNN Films Presents “Little Richard: I Am Everything” A Tribute to the Originator of Rock ‘n Roll

Get ready to dive into the captivating story of Little Richard, the innovator who reshaped the landscape of American pop music and pioneered the Black queer origins of rock ‘n roll. CNN Films is set to premiere “Little Richard: I Am Everything,” directed by Academy Award nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Lisa Cortés. The documentary will air on Monday, September 4 at 9pm ET/PT on CNN. The film, which received acclaim upon its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, provides an unfiltered look into the life and legacy of Richard Penniman, the trailblazer who shattered the whitewashed narrative of American music.

Lisa Cortés, the director behind the documentary, shared her motivation: “I made this film because the story of Little Richard is the story of rock ‘n roll – and rock ‘n roll is the American idiom. Little Richard embodies all the complexity of our country: its paradoxes and cruelties, its beauty and its genius.”

Through an array of archival footage and electrifying performances, “Little Richard: I Am Everything” delves into the intricate journey of this iconic figure, unveiling his life’s twists and turns. The film brings together insights from family, fellow musicians, and prominent Black and queer scholars including Nona Hendryx, Mick Jagger, Sir Lady Java, Tom Jones, Jason King, Billy Porter, Nile Rodgers, and John Waters. These voices reveal how Little Richard’s music became an avenue for unabashed self-expression, even as he grappled with his own inner struggles.

Producer Robert Friedman noted, “The film is aptly called ‘I Am Everything’ – Little Richard’s life representing an important, albeit unexpected, journey through music. He finally receives his long overdue recognition and well-deserved place in pop culture.”

Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, “Little Richard: I Am Everything” offers an intimate portrayal of the artist’s life. The team includes producers Robert Friedman, Lisa Cortés, Liz Yale Marsh, and Caryn Capotosto. Executive producers include Mike Powers, Anita May Rosenstein, Dee Rees, Jason Fine, Gus Wenner (Rolling Stone Films), Amy Entelis, and Courtney Sexton (CNN Films). The film was theatrically released by Magnolia Pictures.

Mark your calendars for Monday, September 4, as “Little Richard: I Am Everything” graces the screens at 9pm ET/PT on CNN. For those with pay TV subscriptions, the film will also be available for live streaming via, CNN OTT, and mobile apps. Starting from Tuesday, September 5, pay TV subscribers can access the documentary on demand through, CNN apps, and Cable Operator Platforms. This documentary promises an insightful and moving exploration of a true musical pioneer’s life.

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