From Farai

Nona Hendryx and ... Are You a Blipster?

Today we got to talk to Nona Hendryx about her rock musical in progress. Nona was a third of LaBelle, the groundbreaking group led by Patti LaBelle.

Among other things we talked about their over-the-top costumes, which you can see in a performance of "Lady Marmalade":

Instead of moving in the gospel-soul direction that Patti did, Nona chose funk and rock.

Black rock is a tricky thing in the United States. TV On the Radio made several critics' lists last year. But the UK and Europe seems an easier nut to crack for mixed-race bands (think today's Bloc Party... and remember Big Country? The Specials? The (embarrassingly clad but fetchingly danceable) Culture Club? And, if my creaky brain is recollecting correctly, even The Cure (during one short-lived band change).)

Nona Hendryx has been trying to break down the rock-soul barrier ... for years.

Here are a few clips of hers to enjoy.



A recent performance for the blog/performance series Bold As Live:

In related info, I found a book called Right to Rock, about the Black Rock Coalition and its members.

Finally, I found an article quoting a term "Blipster"... Black + Hipster... for black indie rock fans. It cites some of the bands I reference above.

In popcultlandia, there is always room for another (reductive) label.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Kavron and I met just over a year ago on while I had taken a travel nursing assignment to California. I wanted to meet someone locally to hang out with while in the LA area and Kavron decided to take one last look! Our first date was August 10, 2006 at Venice beach.. our marriage was August 4, 2007 Waialua beach Oahu.Life is good!

Sent by Johnson Woods | 9:44 PM | 9-18-2007

The idea of the black rock star and how black people react to the situation has been around since the 50's. I was a member of the Black Rock Coalition in the 1990's and I saw the problem first hand. The record industry played a role. It always seemed there could only be "one" Jimi Hendrix or Prince or Terence Trent D'ary (Sananda Maitreya) or Lenny Kravitz. Bands like Living Colour, Fishbone, Bad Brains, Follow for Now and The Family Stand never really got the proper due they deserved. I believe this subject is facinating and infuriating at the same time. I was a co-host of a BRC sponsored radion show on WBAI in New York in the 90's-Crosstown Traffic and besides playing BRC and other black rock artists, we interviewed and led discussions on this very subject. I need to read Maureen Mahon's book-Right to Rock. As far as newer black rock bands-Blipster bands-check out Bloc Party and This Moment in Black History.

Sent by Gregory J. Amani Smith | 12:47 PM | 9-19-2007

I attended the BoldAsLive event with Nona Hendryx and she was great! Another woman to watch is Santi White. Her band Santogold is opening for Bjork next week.

Sent by Nichelle | 11:24 AM | 9-20-2007


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