…and getting the respect!”
Author, music historian and filmmaker, Nelson George, said at a rough cut screening of his latest film, Finding the Funk, that funk music was a music for outsiders. Reaching its peak in the 70s and early 80s, the short time between the eras of soul and post-bop/funky jazz and the rise of hip-hop, funk and its pioneers have left a prominent impression on current music, but do not receive as much historical analysis as other genres of popular music. While other genres, like blues, jazz, soul and even our most current hip-hop, have tons of books and documentaries about them, George himself said he could only find one definitive book about the history of funk, Rickey Vincent’s Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One. Basically in popular culture, funk almost still remains an enigma or a shadow of the future, despite having the likes of James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament Funkadelic, Zapp, Cameo, Slave, Mtume, Prince, LaBelle and plenty more in that legacy.
In comes, George, with his documentary to give a chance for audiences now to get to know better the history and faces of funk, if they have not already. Although this was a rough cut — the final version will premiere on VH1 in November with more performance footage and songs — George’s film had a lot of potential mainly because of the interviews with many of those involved in funk, most prominently George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and the elusive, and kind of spaced-out interview-wise, Sly Stone. Opening with a joke from one of funk’s founding father’s, James Brown, about a guy who doesn’t know the directions in Harlem, but yet knows he’s not lost, the film balances the heavy baselines of funk with lighthearted laughter in the interviews.
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