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.