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TV Review: VH1 explores black music

Saturday, October 06, 2001

By Monica L. Haynes, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

It's bluesy and funky. It's soulful and spiritual. And, by the way, it also rocks and rolls.

 
 
'Say It Loud'

WHEN: 10 p.m. tomorrow through Thursday on VH1.

FEATURING: Al Green, Janet Jackson and Dr. Dre, among others.

   
 

It's black music, and VH1 expounds on it and celebrates it in a five-part documentary called "Say It Loud," which premieres at 10 p.m. tomorrow and runs nightly through Thursday.

The title comes from the 1969 anthem by James Brown, and everyone from the Godfather of Soul to the Doggfather of Rap (a k a Snoop Dogg) is given the opportunity to tell his or her part of the musical story.

Produced by Quincy Jones and Rhino Entertainment Co. in association with Highway Films, the series uses five themes to explain black music and the tremendous influence it's had in this country.

Tomorrow night's theme, "Keep Pushin', " explores black music and its relationship to politics and protest. Subsequent themes are: "Pursuing the Dream," which looks at the progress of black artists in the music business; "Can I Get a Witness," dealing with the music's spiritual pulse; "Let's Get It On," focusing on sexuality; and "Express Yourself," examining style and image.

There's also a six-CD boxed set based on the documentary that showcases the development of black music from ragtime to rap. Interspersed among the songs are sound bites of important speeches by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Lyndon Johnson and others.

For those who think black music begins and ends with Puffy and Lil' Kim, the VH1 series is quite an education; for those who love the music, it's pure bliss.

And for those who've toiled long and hard in the music business, it's a long-time-comin' tribute.

For more information about the series or the boxed set, visit www.vh1.com.

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