Donald Trump is scheduled to appear on Saturday Night Live tonight (Nov 7) but many are boycotting due to his racist comments about immigration and jackhole-isms. NBC is not swayed by the pressure and realizes that his appearance brings high ratings. Music guest tonight is Sia.
What Happened, Miss Simone is a musically emotional documentary that jaunts us through the life of singer, pianist, activist Nina Simone. Her voice was not the most elegant, which is not a prerequisite quality for a pop star. But she learned to engage her audience at a young age. She was taught classical piano since the age of four and performed at recitals often. Nina Simone often felt something was missing in her life but seemed to find her calling during the civil rights movement in the 60’s. Siding mostly with the eye-for-an-eye philosophy of the Black Panthers, she walked on both sides of the fence, violent and non-violent. Her personal life also saw a bit of this violence and non-violence as she struggled with depression and a controlling, abusive husband that also managed her career. She passed away in 2003 but has influenced many female soul singers such as Mary J Blige, Erykah Badu and Cassandra Wilson.
Beasts…, Netflix’ first original movie production, is based on a novel by Uzodinma Iweala. The film contains graphic violence but I would not expect anything less due to the subject matter. The screenplay is fiction but hinged on real world civil wars occurring in Africa- where young boys are forced to join armies and are trained to kill for reasons that may very much be unclear. It stars young Abraham Attah and Idris Alba (Pacific Rim, Mandela, The Office). Director Cary Joji Fukunaga discusses details in making the film in this NYT article. (Trailer)
(“Beasts Of No Nation” is also a song recorded by Afrobeat king Fela Kuti in 1989- see following clip).
Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton is a documentary about the Stones Throw label from California. The label features Madlib, Mayor Hawthorne, JDilla, Dam-Funk and many other underground greats. Label head Peanut Butter Wolf tells the origins of the label and how sticking to it’s DIY-credo was essential to surviving when indie labels and record stores where being shut down in a music industry downturn.
I discovered two songs that took my down the rabbit hole of music discovery and exploration. I just started watching Black Mirror. Episode 2 features a song called “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” by Irma Thomas.