A few weeks ago I was invited to a movie screening at the Charles Theatre in Baltimore (1711 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201). The screening was a part of the Baltimore International Black Film Festival (BIBFF). The movie was titled An Unexpected History: The Story of Hennessy and African Americans.
The short film (59 minutes) was a documentary-style film that told the story of African American involvement in the rise of Hennessy. It followed the lives of two African American Brand Ambassadors and the strides they made to break the stereotype of African Americans drinking luxury liquor brands. It was once thought that marketing liquor to African Americans would hurt a brand because it would no longer be considered a luxury. Influential figures such as Booker T. Washington, Josephine Baker and Marvin Gaye were among the first to endorse the liquor brand, making it more acceptable for African American consumption. Fast forward to present day, Hennessy now has celebrity endorsements from rapper Nas and singer Erykah Badu.
The film was introduced by Former VP of Multicultural Relations Noel Hankin and following the screening guests enjoyed a panel discussion with narrative from the film’s producer Llewellyn Smith and Noel.
After the panel discussion guests were escorted to the neighboring restaurant for hor d’oeuvres and complimentary Hennessy cocktails.
Of course I sampled them all and my favorite was The Royal Anniversaire – Hennessy, Gran Marnier, Lemon Juice and champagne. I never thought about mixing Hennessy with champagne, but it was a great combination.
If you love history, liquor and the history of liquor… you will love this movie.