| FUNK & BLACK POWER
In some of my reading lately, I have been comming across this item more and more.
Would someone care to elaborate on this topic some more and
to give some examples ?
It could be quite useful in helping us to determine just how the music evolved.
I think that it's only natural that funk music and black power are linked together. Funk music and the Black Power Movement evolved around the same time. Music has always reflected the times, and it was reflected in funk. Songs like "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud", "Soul Power", and "Give More Power To The People" reflected the attitudes of many blacks during that time. The focus of funk shifted somewhat during later years, but so did the attitudes of society and blacks. That's my opinion, do you agree?
Here is a funny thing, as I am sitting hear reading your note and thinking of just how to respond to it I heard the faint sounds of the TV coming from the next room. I could hear the old Temps song "Get Ready" playing. Naturally I went in to check it out and I was shocked. Of course the program that was on was the Republican National Convention. The song was being used as part of an intro for Newt Gingrich and the crowd was lip-syching to the song. Now I suppose it's debateable if "Get ready" is FUNK or not.... ....but it certainly was interesting to see that hall full convention hall
of Republicans singing the song. But I have diverged from your question.....I do think that there is/was a very deep connection between Funk and Black Power. As a matter of fact if you accept Rickey Vincent's
theory one may not have happened without the other.
That point may or may not be valid.......but for certain there is a connection between the two. Of course when the "Good Times" of Disco came in that connection got lost.....and that was the beginning of many of us losing our way down the path of drugs, distruction and death.
If you will recall, even some of the leaders of the Black Power movement (Huey Newton for example) sucummed to drugs.
This was in my opinion no accident, the FUNK movement didn't just die....it was murdered !!!
(more to come)
The Civil rights movement as well as the Black Power movement spawned a lot of the music in the 50's, 60's, and part of the 70's. Some of the music lost it's focus in the 70's due to disco and the control of the white record companies. This was intentional, as to stop the momentum of the Black Power movement by putting restrictions on the artists. Some labels didn't bend to this however and neither did the artists with people like Gil-Scott Herron and Bob Marley gaining momentum and playing to wider audiences due to college and community stations as well as other non-commercial stations giving them airplay around the world.
While I certainly agree with some of what you are saying, it still doesn't get at the essence. What I'm trying to figure out is ....how come that "Chocolate City" that we were all moving and grooving towards in the late 70's seems to now be in the same category as the "40 acres and the mule". We seem to be no closer to reaching that plateau.
The synergy that existed between the music, the situation and the people was a fantastic thing. And we lost it. For a brief moment during the late eighties I thought it was ...on it's way back with groups like PE, BDP, Digable Planets, Arrested Development, etc. Now that seems to have degenerated in to .....well I won't go there right now.
Sufice it to say that our spirit seems to be broken & I wonder if we can ever get it back ???
I'm just remembering folks like Miles Davis, Gil Scott, EWF, P-Funk, Richard Pryor, etc who all were able to brilliantly entertain us and make us think, in a way that really brought us together. We need to figure out a way to get that spirit back. One question is how ??
Been reading what you guys were posting on the boards. It's very interesting how the music seemed to have been PUSHED out of the way, doesn't it?
If you think about it, the music and the people are very related. How did the slaves communicate to one another? How does the rap community communicate to one another? What has been the use of drums historically?
Y'all are right. Back in the days when people were making Pro-Black music, there was a greater sense of community. We were all struggling for the same thing. But something is going on now that wasn't going on before....at least not in the epic proportions that it's happening today....we weren't killing each other off the way we do now.
It's unfortunate that these gang members are knocking each other off faster than anything. Think it's a coincidence that so many guns end up in our neighborhoods? Think it's a coincidence that the only business a Black person has no trouble opening is a liquor store? Think it's a coincidence that malt liquour, from what I understand, can make you >> sterile? (This is something that someone told me after doing some research on it since he drank so much of it--thought he might check out exactly what it was that he was drinking)
No, I don't think that any of these things are a coincidence.
It's seems that we don't have a sense of community to rally around, and what little community we do have is broken down by those lookin out for self.
Personally, I think that the song YOUNG gifTED AND BLACK should be played in every classroom across America which are dominated by Black children. I often use this song as a source of inspiration for myself when the rigors of school and the world just seem like too much. Also, I check out the movie Higher Learning and really listen to what the character Professor Phipps has to say.....and wish to God
that I had a Professor Phipps at my school....yet, I'm not that fortunate.
Anyway, I think things need to be done from within first. Which brings me to another question, that maybe I will post...what do you think of the controversy between Dionne Warwick, Rev. Calvin Butts, etc., and rap artists?
You said a mouthfull !!!!
Let me try & address your points......
1.The music & the PEOPLE are very much related......this is why da FUNK was such a powerful force for social change in the 1970's and still continues to influence via certain forms of hip-hop. One of the reasons why I liked Ricky Vincent's book so much is because he discusses that connection in detai & it hit me right where I live.
2. It's no accident that "funkateers" are sometimes refered to a "Black Hippies". Back in the 70's the music was "hard driving" but the lyrics were also sensitive and empowering. That's a hard combination to beat....Some hip-hop groups like Public enemy, De La Soul and others picked up on this theme, but their efforts today are seen as "old fashioned" by todays hip-hop crowd.
Today the idea of sensitivity & empowerment seems to have been lost amidst the driving beat and lyrics of "black self hatred" that are common in much of today's music.
3. Gangs, Drugs, Violence & Disrespect to females, seems to be the emphasis of the music nowadays. This is a reflecton of how our society has "enslaved" people. They feel powerless to change the world they live in & for some reason feel the need to strike out against those who love them the most.....their own people !!!
4. Now I am not simply pointing blame at the artists & fans of today's music. They are simply being manipulated by an industry whoose sole purpose is to make $$$$$$$$. The industry could care less about empowering Black folks or in changing the reality of our situation.
But of course we should !!!
That's deep. not to try and simplify it but Black Power was the movement of the people and Funk is the music that evolved from that movement. James Brown's Soul Power comes to mind.
"Soul Power" by James Brown was definatly "on the one", didn't he make several different versions of it ?