September 10, 2020
Bootsy Collins transforms The Tight Rope on this Special Funk Edition. Bootsy, Dr. Cornel West, and Professor Tricia Rose talk all things funk in the context of the perils of following trends, the process of self-acceptance and self-discovery, confronting fear, and the “manipulation of the funk.” Bootsy shares details about his upcoming album The Power of the One. Hear what funk means to Bootsy Collins and how we must be funky in our own lives on this episode of The Tight Rope.
Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums including Never Forget. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast.
Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.
Bootsy Collins, a great “Funkmaster,” has been making music since 1968. He played bass with the Pacesetters, James Brown, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, and the Parliament-Funkadelic collective. He also wrote songs and arranged rhythm. Black music “artistic nobility” from Cincinnati, Bootsy was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Bass Play magazine, and he is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. No one says it better than Dr. West when he describes Bootsy as an “exemplar of the greatest modern tradition in the world which is Black music wrestling with suffering and transfiguring and transforming it into such a way that the sonic effects on souls, soul to soul, [are] mediated with genius, mediated with talent, mediated with discipline, mediated with vision.” Check out Bootsy’s new album The Power of the One, which includes a collaboration with Dr. West. All proceeds from the streams and downloads of his new song, “Stars,” will go to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Insight from this episode:
- Secrets behind the key to the funk and how to make something out of nothing.
- Insights into the past, present, and future of funk music.
- The story behind the bassline of “Flash Light” and Bootsy’s artistic self-discovery.
- Bootsy Collins’s take on Black Lives Matter and the current moment.
- Behind-the-scenes details on past and present collaborations between Boosty Collins and Dr. West.
Quotes from the show:
- “I don’t never want to lose that kid inside me because when I lose him, I lose a part of myself.” –Bootsy Collins The Tight Rope Episode #14
- “One of the things about funk, and one of the great gifts that we Black people have brought to the world in terms of the depths of funk… is to acknowledge that in the world in which we find ourselves, which is white supremist America, they want to deodorize everything, they want to sanitize and sterilize everything, keep it on the surface. We say, no, we want to do some deep sea diving, and by going all the way deep into the funk, we’re going to get all the tears, blood, the sorrow, the sadness, and the pleasure, and the joy is there and then give it.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #14
- “The whole thing is, do you accept being funky? Are you alright with being called funky? Are you alright with being called Black? Are you alright with it? I’m cool with it! I’m always going to be cool with being funky. But a lot of people just can’t embrace the fact of being funky.” –Bootsy Collins The Tight Rope Episode #14
- “The funk predates the book learning.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #14
- “The funk is making something out of nothing.” –Bootsy Collins The Tight Rope Episode #14
- “We all become less afraid. We all become more willing to engage with the world. We all become less apologetic about whatever truths are inside us cause everyone got their distinctive voices and their distinctive truths. You can’t be funky by imitating someone else. You’re going to start faking the funk.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #14
- “That funk, funk vibe that you got, you got to trust it. It’s just like God. It’s God.” –Bootsy Collins The Tight Rope Episode #14
- “African peoples have musically and sonically transformed all of the deodorized lies into certain truths of self-confidence and self-respect. We might not have no land or territory, might not have no rights or any kind of liberty, but we were still free enough in our language, in our music, to pass it on to the younger generation where they can get some kind of self-confidence, self-respect where the love can be found.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #14
- “Who really stands for the funk now? This is the time you have to stand for something. And we got something real. We’re talking about the funk.” –Bootsy Collins The Tight Rope Episode #14
- “The funk is not about success but about process.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #14
- “We don’t want no brand. We want a cause. We want a cause we can die for. We don’t want a brand to superficially shine. We want the shining in the life that we live, in the funk we embody, in the smiles we produce, in the love that we generate.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #14
MusiCares Donation Website
Facebook: Dr. Cornel West
Linktree: Cornel West
LinkedIn: Tricia Rose
Facebook: Tricia Rose
Youtube: Professor Tricia Rose
Bootsy Collins Foundation: www.bootsycollinsfoundation.org
The Tight Rope
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This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry