Writer, producer and cultural critic Nelson George has covered Black music since his stint at Billboard’s black music editor in the early 80’s. During that time, the Brooklyn-based writer was at the forefront of the burgeoning hip-hop music scene, documenting the culture that was soon to move the world. The author of several books on Black music and culture, in recent years George has moved into TV and film, producing the TV movie “Life Support” with Queen Latifah and the documentary “Brooklyn Boheme” about the black arts and music community in Brooklyn in the late 80’s and 90’s. Now, he’s working on a funk documentary “Finding the Funk,” which is scheduled for VH1 in the fall.
James Brown, Parliament/Funkadelic, Sly Stone, Earth Wind and Fire and the Ohio Players are just a few of the funk stalwarts that will be featured, along with the Dayton connection. That’s not a group, it’s the city in Ohio which spawned several of funk’s most seminal groups, including Slave and the Ohio Players.
“People talk about Funkytown, but Funkytown was really Dayton, Ohio. There were so many musicians and so many great bands that came out of this one town. Dayton in the 70’s, 80’s was only 300,000 people. But you could make an argument that that town produced more enduring, great bands and artists in the funk genre than any city. It was a really good economy. Everyone played instruments. There was a whole tradition of band competition at the high school level that really generated a lot of musicians. There were a lot of colleges in that area so there were a lot of places to play on the weekend and all that stuff just came together into a movement.”
What is funk? Well, it’s easier heard than described. But it’s based in a band sound which unfortunately has waned in recent years with the advent of technology though a few artists, most notably Cee-Lo who came out of hip-hop, are trying to keep alive.
“Funk is the evolution out of soul music. It’s the music where the band became the star. With War, Earth Wind and Fire and the Commodores, the band was the star. The horn players and the guitar players became much more prominent. It’s a lot of different elements but it’s an evolution out of what soul music was and Brown and Sly are the key people in it.”
As far as funk’s originator, George says that has to be James Brown. Most of the musicians that followed him, including Stevie Wonder, Micheal Jackson and Prince, acknowledged his dominating influence. Early hip-hop got much of its sound from Brown as well as other funksters as their music is widely sampled throughout the hip-hop genre. Brown’s band was the tightest in the game and Brown, legendary for riding his bands hard to achieve musical perfection is acknowledged for both his musicianship and showmanship.
“The James Brown Band of the late 60’s when you had Maceo [Parker] Fred [Wesley] Clyde Stubblefield The Funky Drummer, Bootsy [Collins] was in that band for about a year. That James Brown band was really the creators of funk.”
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
1 of 31
2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
2 of 31
3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
3 of 31
4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
4 of 31
5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
5 of 31
6 of 31
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
7 of 31
8 of 31
9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
9 of 31
10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
10 of 31
11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
11 of 31
12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
12 of 31
13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
13 of 31
14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
14 of 31
15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
15 of 31
16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
16 of 31
17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
17 of 31
18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
18 of 31
19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
19 of 31
20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
20 of 31
21. Bae #retailtherapy
21 of 31
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
22 of 31
23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
23 of 31
24. Diggy Simmons
24 of 31
25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
25 of 31
26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
26 of 31
27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
27 of 31
28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
28 of 31
29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
29 of 31
30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
30 of 31
31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
31 of 31