Tuesday, June 18, 2024

KC Gets KKFI Community Radio And Kultcha That Y'all Don't Get...,

pbs.org   |  [Cerrone's "Supernature" playing] Woman: The disco sound was just wonderful.

It was exciting, powerful, you know, spank you, and you just had a good time.
Barry Walters: Disco brought together Black Pride, women's liberation, and LGBT culture.
It was the coming together of that that made it so powerful.
Allen Roskoff: Listening to the music and letting yourself go, you become a different person.
Singers: ♪ Supernature ♪ ♪ Supernature ♪ ♪ Supernature ♪ ♪ Supernature ♪ There was this powder keg chain reaction that happened that made it suddenly totally take over the airwaves.
Singers: ♪ Supernature ♪ Jake Shears: It was, of course "Saturday Night Fever" that really, like, tipped everything over, that, like, tipped the scales.
It just set the world on fire.
Disco was on everybody's lips.
Clubs were packed every night.
♪ Woman: Studio 54, I created it as a playground.
Sex, drugs, disco, whatever you need.
Singer: ♪ Angry with the man ♪ ♪ 'Cause he changed their way of life ♪ Bill Bernstein: In the late seventies, the outsider became the insider.
Singer: ♪ Take their sweet revenge ♪ Woman: The Black disco diva was a breakthrough persona.
Someone like Donna Summer, she was a disco queen.
Don't forget Gloria in all her gloria.
Singers: ♪ Supernature ♪ I think that era music allowed the disco diva to have this stage to be adored and celebrated.
♪ Candi Staton: Disco freed me.
It saved me.
[Cheering] ♪ Singers: ♪ Supernature ♪ [Protestors shouting] ♪ Richard Nixon: In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the nation.
Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.
Woman: In the mid-1970s, the United States was not a happy place.
There was the Watergate scandal, and any faith that Americans had in government was shaken to its core.
What percentage of the American people do you think still have confidence in President Nixon?
Well, among young people, very few, I'd say less than 25%.
Nixon: Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.
announcer: Nixon has announced he will resign as president of the United States at noon tomorrow.
Roskoff: In my life and everybody I knew, Nixon was detested, but it was an intense period of time.
You knew you were living history.
You knew that this is monumental.
♪ [Machineguns firing] George McCrae: Was a hard time because of the Vietnam War.
Also a nuclear bomb threat And Russia, you know.
that they might drop a bomb any day.
"Oh, my God.
What we gonna do?"
♪ Farrington: The flip side of this dark moment is that when life gets hard, you party harder.
[Gloria Gaynor's "Never Can Say Goodbye" playing] ♪ I was living in New York in the 1970s.
All we wanted to do was dance to disco music.
Gaynor: ♪ I never can say goodbye ♪ David Depino: There was a freedom.
It was like express yourself was so welcome and wanted, and music was the common denominator.
Gaynor: ♪ Heading for the door ♪ ♪ There's a very strange... ♪ Nicky Siano: I mean, it was just igniting people's dance souls.
Gaynor: ♪ It says, "Turn around, you fool" ♪ ♪ "You know love him" ♪ Man: Why is everybody rushing and flooding the doors of discotheque?
Oh, I think it's because with all of the hardships that are going on in the world today, people need a place to go and relieve tension and release their anxieties, and discotheques are a great place to do just that.
Gaynor: ♪ Say goodbye, boy ♪ ♪ Ooh, ooh, baby ♪ ♪ I never can say goodbye ♪ ♪ No, no, no, hey ♪ ♪ I never can say goodbye ♪ ♪ Say goodbye ♪ ♪ Oh, no, I ♪ Reporter: Gloria Gaynor is a rock 'n' roll singer whose records have really never made it before until she decided to specialize in a brand-new rock 'n' roll musical style called disco music.
Gaynor: ♪ All gonna work out ♪ ♪ But there's that same unhappy feeling ♪ ♪ And that anguish and that doubt ♪ Depino: She made you raise your hands up and want to touch the ceiling while you were dancing and screaming.
When Gloria was doing her thing, I think she was the First Lady of Disco.
♪ Say goodbye ♪ ♪ It is so ♪ ♪ I don't want to let you go ♪ Vince Aletti: She was one of the earliest people to have a major presence in the clubs, was, you know, Queen of Disco before there was such a title.
Gaynor: ♪ No, no, no, no, no, ooh ♪ Gloria, did you ever think this would happen?
No, I really didn't.
Not like this, anyway.
I always thought I would sing eventually, but I never thought all this would happen.
♪ I never can say goodbye ♪ ♪ No, no, no, no, no, no, no ♪ Woman: I think disco means to most people, probably it means a lot of fun.
To me, it meant a change.
♪ Farrington: In the early seventies, Black women were caught between a rock and a hard place.
Statistically, they were at the bottom of the heap.
They earned less than most any other group, male or female.
They were victimized by a notorious government-sponsored report called the Moynihan Report.
It was a report that discussed what were the particular problems of Blacks and Jews and Puerto Ricans.
Black women were literally blamed for the problems of Black men.
Black women were heads of their families, too matriarchal, too strong, and unfortunately, when scholars produce a document that is government-approved, people tend to believe it, and so rather than fight against this, which was virtually impossible for a group that oppressed to do, they tried not to be like that.
Nona Hendryx: You had to work hard to fit in, and to fit in, you're gonna be quiet.
You're not gonna bring all your loud culture with you or whatever it is and make demands.
You're gonna try and fit in.
[Church choir singing] Ward: When I was growing up, the only time that people heard my voice, I was singing.
My father had been a minister, so we just had to kind of stick to what we were told to do.
I just wanted to sing.
Woman: ♪ I can hear Jesus calling me ♪ Choir: ♪ Calling me ♪ Staton: The pastor called me up on the stage, and I started singing, and the church people started shouting and screaming and standing up and waving.
"Sing, baby!
Sing that song."
That was the beginning.
♪ Ohh ♪ Woman: The gospel diva or the soul diva, that's a really powerful, full-bodied sound that moved into the mainstream in the sixties.
Man: Sarah Dash, Nona Hendryx, Patricia Holt, known as Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles.
♪ Somewhere over ♪ ♪ The rainbow ♪ Hendryx: In the sixties, se were a traditional girl group, and we dressed alike.
We did the kind of, you know, lead singer with backing singers waving their arms and looking very nice.
Farrington: Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles were fulfilling a vision of Black womanhood that was on the tail end of the early sixties Motown era.
They embodied that non-threatening persona that America wanted to place Black women in.
♪ Hey, hey, oh, oh, oh ♪ Hendryx: We were expected to carry ourselves a certain way in the public, you know, well-dressed, well-behaved.
That's how it was.
♪ Really do come true ♪ Staton: In the music industry, we were fighting, trying to get out of that box that we were put in in the sixties, so disco was wonderful.
Royster: Disco did offer Black women new opportunities.
Disco did give space for Black women to kind of add soul and funk and depth to a lot of different kinds of music to kind of take center stage like Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles.
[Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" playing] ♪ Woman: My next guest stars are the hottest girl group in America.
Man, they are truly hot, and they've got the hottest single, too, "Lady Marmalade," and here they are-- Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash, and Patti LaBelle known throughout the music industry as Labelle.
♪ Go, sister, soul sister ♪ ♪ Flow, sister ♪ ♪ Go now ♪ ♪ Go, sister, soul sister ♪ ♪ Flow, sister ♪ ♪ He met Marmalade ♪ ♪ Down in old New Orleans ♪ ♪ Struttin' her stuff on the street ♪ Farrington: When Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles changed their name, they changed their look, and they changed it dramatically.
♪ Da da ♪ ♪ Gitchi gitchi ya ya here ♪ ♪ Mocha ♪ ♪ Mocha chocolata, ya ya ♪ Hendryx: Patti LaBelle And the Bluebelles were a girl group, right?
Labelle were a girl band.
♪ Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
♪ ♪ Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
♪ Ana Matronic: Labelle looking like they just, like, beamed in from some crazy, funky galaxy.
It was just so over the top and so amazing and so out there.
That to me meant a certain kind of freedom.
♪ Oh, gitchi gitchi ya ya here ♪ The architect of the look of Labelle was Legaspi.
He also designed the look for KISS.
Patti LaBelle: ♪ Ahh ahh ♪ Farrington: He also designed the look for Funkadelic.
Labelle: ♪ Coucher avec moi ce soir?
♪ Larry was already sort of making things that looked like a futuristic look, and then with us being open to even going further, he began to design more.
♪ More, more, more ♪ Farrington: I was mesmerized and delighted to see my people in a way that was unlike any way anyone had ever imagined them.
Labelle: ♪ More, more, more ♪ ♪ Gitchi gitchi ya ya da da ♪ ♪ Gitchi gitchi ya ya here ♪ Hendryx: Just singing songs that felt right to us or mattered to us, and the audience were responding to it.
♪ Touching her skin, feeling silky smooth ♪ ♪ Ahh ♪ ♪ Ahh ♪ Royster: Lady Marmalade is talking about, I mean, basically sex tourism and sex work.
♪ Roar until it cried ♪ All: ♪ "More, more, more!"
♪ Royster: Women don't often get center stage, or if there is a story that's being told, it's also a story that's about titillation or about fetishization.
Hendryx: It's like a playwright, you know, someone describing something as opposed to judging it and in a way that-- not celebratory, but in a way that was not downtrodden and horrible and that this is just yet another aspect of life.
[Indistinct chatter] Royster: I really think that music is really important in terms of creating social change, and in this moment, you know, music was reflecting Black women's lives in a way that it hadn't ever been.
Staton: I was so glad disco came in.
You know, good music, good lyrics, songs that had a meaning to them.
In the sixties, we were known as R&B singers.
♪ I'd rather be lonely ♪ ♪ Than to lose you ♪ My songs were, like... ♪ I'm just a prison ♪ and begging men not to leave me and "Oh, God, if you leave me, I'm just gonna die," you know, I mean, this was the kind of songs they would play on us.
Men could sing anything they wanted to sing.
So to make a long story short, disco freed me.
It saved me.
♪ You know, I been married a few times, and I don't mind telling it because, you know, I was in one of those type of marriages, but it was dangerous.
It was a really a dangerous marriage.
So I was doing Las Vegas with Ray Charles.
I was opening for Ray Charles.
The last night, I decided I was gonna just sit in the audience and watch Ray do his show, and my ex-husband, he was looking for me, and he couldn't find me, and I was in the audience, and he kept walking up and down the aisle.
I saw him.
And that's the night when he went completely nuts.
My suite was on the--way up on the 20th-something floor, and he pushed me.
You know, he was pushing me all the way through the lobby to the elevator, and then we get to the floor.
He said, "I'm--I'm gonna kill you tonight.
"I tell you what I'm gonna do.
I'm gonna throw you off the balcony."
20-something floors.
He picked me up, and had me--holding me over the banister like this, and I'm like, "This man is gonna kill me tonight.
"How in the world?
Well, how am I gonna get out of this one?"
I said, um, "You know you're in this hotel, "and it's owned by Mafia.
This is Las Vegas.
We're in Las Vegas now."
I said, "You got to get out of here.
"You got to walk out of here.
"How are you gonna feel with my body splattered at the bottom and my name is on the marquee?"
And I said, "You won't make it out of Vegas."
He thought, and he brought me back in, and he said, "I'll tell you what I'm gonna do.
I'm just gonna shoot you."
So I laid--I just, you know, I was so tired.
I just laid down on the bed.
I said, "OK.
Shoot me."
I went to sleep.
He had the gun like this.
I said, "Just shoot me.
I won't know it.
I just--forget it."
That's how "Young Hearts Run Free" came about.


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