John-Michel Basquiat: The Afrofuturistic  and His Art

Part I - Cosmic Slop and George Clinton's Afro-Futurism

While attending college in the early 1970s, the “message in the music” was important. Socially-conscious black music introduced a new black vernacular, innovative technology, and inspired visual iconography. Message music and stunning album covers belong to the Black Arts Movement (1968-1978). My aesthetic tastes expanded beyond the rhythmic sounds of Motown (Temptations, Miracles, Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Jackson Five) and the throbbing beats of Polydor Records (James Brown).

Well, sort of. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Brown continued to crank out the hits. They conjured enchantment. His extended album songs—beginning with 45s covering both A & B sides—set the stage for future musicians, including Hip-Hop artists.Record companies exploited black cultural production and mass-marketed Brown’s songs to young people who seemingly wanted to dance forever (I am not unaware that aficionados credit the Jamaican artist Lee “Scratch” Perry with inventing long play records). 



Read More