Thursday, February 16, 2012

The importance of Influences: Me and the 70's

It's funny that when a person, particularly and artist, sees or hears something a great many times we are moved by it to create. In the hall of words this is called INSPIRATION. The things that inspire us leave an indelible mark on the way we look at creation and the very things we choose to create. Inspiration adds context and weight to our voices and an inaudible rhythm to them as well. I would like to be the first of , hopefully, many of us who post here to talk about a few of my own inspirations and why the move me to the creative frenzy they do.

1. The 70's
A few nights ago my wife and I were watching a documentary on PBS about the late, great, Curtis Mayfield.

If you don't know this man, his music was the cultural soul of the early 70's. He, along with his group The Impressions, made great and soulful music like PEOPLE GET READY and WERE A WINNER. He is most notable however for his awesome soundtrack work, particularly the soundtrack for the "blaxplotation" standard   SUPERFLY.

As we listened, my wife could see the affection I had for this man, his music as well as the era itself. She has often said that I came to manhood in the wrong decade lol. For me, the 70's was an era where the ills of society were laid bare for all to see, and we all wrestled with our own culpability. It was also an era where I could watch television, or go to the movies and see black people doing amazing things.

Don't get me wrong, the 70's was also a time for us to reflect on the gains we had made during the civil rights movement and how much further we need to go. Vietnam was also winding down. I think I love the 70's because they seemed organic and filled with gritty cynicism as the government and the power structure were concerned.

The 70's is also the era of the Blockbuster summer tentpole movies which are now establishment today. Chief amongst which was STAR WARS, that single film did more to stoke my imagination than any other work since.  Even at a young age, I realized that I was witness to a paradigm shift and things would never be what they were. I also realized that if I could dream it, technology could probably do it.

I also became engrossed in Sci Fi animation at the time like BATTLE OF THE PLANETS(Gatchaman) , not knowing until years later that most of what i liked was ANIME.

The late 70's saw the slow emergence of my next principle influence. HIP HOP and the action films of the 80's!  I will talk about these in my next diatribe but these are some of the reasons why the 70's is a huge influence on me today.


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