New Orleans legend and all-around funk pioneer Art Neville, of Neville Brothers fame, died on Monday at the age of 81. Continue reading New Orleans Funk Icon Art Neville of the Neville Brothers Dead at 81
While I grew up a huge fan of movies and television, it was rare that I felt I could actually make either. Coming from Trenton, New Jersey, the closest I saw my town get to the mainstream was the video for Poor Righteous Teachers’ “Rock Dis Funky Joint.” Being black in America, especially as ’80s babies, we seldom witnessed realistic on-screen depictions of the areas we were from. But in 1991, John Singleton released his debut feature film, Boyz n the Hood. At the time, many outside of South Central Los Angeles had only heard about that area through N.W.A lyrics; being able to see Tre, Ricky, and Doughboy navigate those streets and come to grips with their realities? It was breathtaking. Having that film be nominated for two Academy Awards—including Best Director, making Singleton the youngest and first African-American to receive that nomination—was beautiful.
Chuck Berry, the father of rock n’ roll, passed away Saturday at 90 years old. His music was sent to space for aliens to find, and for Back to the Future fans, he’s the guy on the phone who heard Marty McFly perform “Johnny B. Goode” and knew it would change the future. That’s right, Chuck Berry has transcended both space and time.
Actor and comedian Ricky Harris has reportedly died at the age of 54. According to OkayPlayer, he passed away after suffering a heart attack; friends and family confirmed his death on social media Monday.
Malik Taylor, the rapper known as Phife Dawg whose nimble, clever rhymes helped launch A Tribe Called Quest to both commercial and critical success, died Tuesday at the age of 45 from complications resulting from diabetes. Rolling Stone has confirmed the rapper’s death.