CultureShift: Elvis Mitchell discusses Netflix documentary, Black representation in film, more

Mitchell will host a live taping of “The Treatment” with guest Laurence Fishburne Saturday during the Freep Film Festival.

Tia Graham Elvis Mitchell

Film critic, media personality and native Detroiter Elvis Mitchell has built an extensive career over the last several decades. The Treatment host returns to his hometown for several engagements during the Freep Film Festival this week.

Mitchell joined CultureShift host Tia Graham to discuss his documentary “Is That Black Enough for You?!?,” the importance of Black representation in film, his days growing up in Detroit, including the start of his media career at WDET.

“I was in high school walking through downtown Detroit with a friend trying to figure out what to do. We saw this little guy walk past us wearing a leather jacket — and it’s July — a leather hat with a leather bag and matching shoes for me. I thought ‘this guy has to be an actor.’ This is 1975 so nobody was even thinking like that,” Mitchell recalls.

“I just went ‘Oh my god, you’re D’Urville Martin.’ He goes, ‘You guys know who I am?’ I went ‘yeah.’ He goes, ‘You want to see my movie?’ He walked us into the Plaza Theatre, walks us past the ticket taker and he says, ‘That’s okay, these guys are with me.’ Turns out he directed ‘Dolemite.’

He said ‘Enjoy guys,’ and he took off and I’ve never enjoyed a famous person as much since because the first movie I saw for free, the director walked me into it. I think we sat through it four times, they finally kicked us out of the theater because we were reciting the dialogue along with the cast. So that was a kind of moment that…helped form the way I think about movies.”

Watch the entire interview below.

“Is That Black Enough for You?!?” chronicles the rise of Black film, narrating the journey and inserting commentary from some of the most influential Black actors, actresses and filmmakers — including Laurence Fishburne, Samuel L. Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Sheila Frazier, the late Harry Belafonte and more.

Streaming on Netflix, the documentary made its Michigan premiere Thursday at the Detroit Film Theatre inside the Detroit Institute of Arts. Fishburne joined Mitchell onstage for a post-film discussion.

The duo will again appear at the DFT during a live taping of The Treatment on Saturday. Tickets are still available at

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