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When it comes to funk, as illustrated in the new VH1 documentary Finding the Funk airing again on VH1 in March, there are several groups that are well-known. There is Parliament Funkadelic, Sly Stone and Slave as well as current folks like Janelle Monae and others who’ve taken up the mantle. But without the Bar-Kays, the pioneering funk band, many of these artists wouldn’t have been able to build careers. The Bar-Kays began their musical journey as the house band for Stax Records, until several band members died in the tragic 1967 plane crash that also killed Otis Redding.

After regrouping, the Bar-Kays eventually branched out on their own, hitting in the 70’s with the single Shake Your Rump to The Funk. The band will join the Fantastic Voyage 2014 where Ice Cube and George Clinton will round out the funk offering for the week. It would be wise to make sure you’ve got that behind ready for the funkplosion.

This year, the Bar-Kays, led by James Alexander and Larry Dodson, celebrate their 50th anniversary. Alexander’s legacy has personally contributed to the next generation of funksters as his son is Atlanta-based producer Jazze Pha, who has produced several hits with everyone from Tupac to Biggie but is well known for bringing Ciara to the forefront.

“Where did the time go?,” Dodson says. “We are on cloud nine. This morning we want to do something unprecedented. We send three kids to school every year to LeMoyne-Owen College (An HBCU in Memphis, TN).”We’ve been doing it for ten years. We want to ask that every entertainer to support one kid to the historically Black college of their choice. Bring that kid to our 50th anniversary show on December 4 and we want Tom, along with that entertainer, to present that scholarship to that kid on our stage.”

So, artists, celebrities, singers, please heed the call and if you are interested in participating, you can reach out to the Bar-Kays directly via their official site. We’re sure the BarKays would also be happy to host any TJMS listener who’d be in the position to offer a scholarship as well.

The Bar-Kays will be performing during “70’s and 80’s Night” on the cruise.

“We’re packed up and ready to go,” says Alexander. “It’s going to be a wonderful cruise. Your lineup is incredible this year.”

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