ABOVE HIS CLASS
Bonita L. Davis | 07/31/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Arthur Ashe is known to most of us as a great African American tennis player who broke down racial barriers in a game considered for the wealthy.Ashe was far more than an athlete or a symbol of racial equality. In tribute to Arthur Ashe, HBO presents this thrilling documentary of a man who went beyond the game and symbolism to become a world wide force of change. Who was this soft-spoken young man? A native of Virginia, Ashe intimately knew the world of segregation. His parents knew of a better world for him and thus insured that his talent as a tennis player was developed. Our film takes us to the places and people who impacted upon the young Ashe's life. They instilled in him the sense of hard work, being a good sportsman but most of all being the ambassador for Blacks whose presence in the sport of tennis was negligible. Follow Ashe in his early years as he makes it through the ranks of Junior tennis ever aware of the burden of responsibility for his people. Arthur developed a deep maturity and sense of style far beyond his years. During the turbulent sixties he was criticised for not being outspoken against racism. Ashe refused to allow anyone to dictate the terms of his actions and went along his own tract. His controversial tournament in South Africa, his boycott of Wimbledon, his untiring efforts to help young people and his crusade against aids shows a revolutionary young man. I was surprised by the imapct of this film on my perception of Ashe. He comes across as a caring spirit who moves beyond the game of tennis. He believes that there is more to his life than just a game and believes in giving back to the community. You can't help but be moved over his courageous spirit in going through two heart attacks and then being diagnosed with aids. For some athletes such news would be a sad ending. For Ashe it was a catalyst for him to do more and the world has appreciated his efforts. Watching this film will make you appreciate the quiet strength, love and determination of a man who was above his class in the sports arena. The world was blessed with a man who was a scholar, athlete, coach and activist who fully gave of himself."
Dennis J. Benjamin | 10/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Arthur Ashe made a lasting impression upon me shortly after my 13th birthday by winning the first US Open Tennis Championship. I watched on a black & white television as the only contrasting figure raised the winner's trophy. I followed his career through my high school years and beyond totally captivated by his cool demeanor under pressure and in the face of extreme diversity. This documentary should be required viewing for anyone wishing to improve the human condition..."