Judging from “Little Richard: I Am Everything,” the best way to understand the self-proclaimed “architect of rock ’n’ roll” is through his contradictions.
In this documentary, directed by Lisa Cortés, Little Richard, who died in 2020, is seen as a musician who could simultaneously lay the groundwork for an entire genre and not get his due.
Without him, we probably wouldn’t have the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie or Prince — artists who were happy to cite his influence even as they stole his thunder and his style.
In the 1950s, he broke with the slower sounds of Ray Charles and B.B. King in favor of fast songs with lyrics not so subtly about sex.