1st Edition

The Funk Movement Music, Culture, and Politics

By Reiland Rabaka Copyright 2025
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    Rabaka explores funk as a distinct multiform of music, aesthetics, politics, social vision, and cultural rebellion that has been remixed, and continues to influence contemporary Black popular music and Black popular culture, especially rap music and the Hip Hop Movement.


    The Funk Movement was a sub movement within the larger Black Power Movement and its artistic arm, the Black Arts Movement. Moreover, the Funk Movement was also a sub movement within the Black Women’s Liberation Movement between the late 1960s and late 1970s, where women’s funk, especially Chaka Khan and Betty Davis’s funk, was understood to be a form of “Black musical feminism” that was as integral to the movement as was the Black political feminism of Angela Davis or the Combahee River Collective and the Black literary feminism of Toni Morrison or Alice Walker. This book also demonstrates that more than any other post-war Black popular music genre, the funk music of the 1960s and 1970s laid the foundation for the mercurial rise of rap music and the Hip Hop Movement in the 1980s and 1990s.


    This book is primarily aimed at scholars and students working in popular music studies, popular culture studies, American studies, African American studies, cultural studies, ethnic studies, critical race studies, women’s studies, gender studies, and sexuality studies.

    About the Author



    Introduction to Funk Music and the Funk Movement


    1               “Black Is Beautiful”: The Black Power Movement, the Black Arts Movement, and the Black Aesthetic


    2               Pre-Funk—The Prelude to Funk: Hard Bop Jazz and the Cultural Roots of Funk Music and the Funk Movement


    3               “Say It Loud–I’m Black and I’m Proud”: James Brown and the Foundations of Funk


    4               “There’s A Riot Goin’ On”: Sly and the Family Stone’s Psychedelic Rock, Psychedelic Soul, and Invention of Psychedelic Funk


    5               “One Nation Under a Groove”: George Clinton, Parliament/Funkadelic, Psychedelic Rock, Psychedelic Soul, and Psychedelic Funk


    6               “The Personal Is Political”: The Black Women’s Liberation Movement


    7               “I’m Every Woman”: Chaka Khan, Radio-Friendly Funk, and the Black Feminist Funk Movement


    8               “Nasty Gal”: Betty Davis, Erotic Funk Rock, and the Black Feminist Funk Movement


    9               P-Funk to G-Funk: From Funk Music and the Funk Movement to Rap Music and the Hip Hop Movement





    Reiland Rabaka is the Founder and Director of the Center for African & African American Studies and Professor of African, African American, and Caribbean Studies in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is also a research fellow in the College of Human Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

    ‘Embark on an exhilarating journey of Funk music, politics, and culture that places men and women alike at the heart of Funk history, revealing the roots, aesthetics, decolonization, and depoliticization of the revolutionary genre. Brace yourself for a captivating exploration where every page and chapter explores the dynamic connection between lived experiences, narratives, accounts, lyrics, and innuendos that characterize this nonconforming genre, Funk. The evolving ties to historical movements, previous genres, and Hip Hop vividly portray how Funk transcends sound to become a powerful force in shaping collective history. “Indeed, a fuller and funkier picture of Funk is brought into being” with compelling stories of music as a means of empowerment.’


    Ruth Opara, Columbia University, New York



    ‘Dr. Reiland Rabaka has made a phenomenal contribution to the study of Black music and, by extension, Black Power. Funk is more than a genre. This study explores funk as sonic aesthetic, and movement within a movement.’


    Scot Brown, UCLA