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The Funk Jazz Kafe Diary of a Decade

The Story of a Movement
By SentAsha

On, Wednesday, 7/14/2011 the National Black Arts Festival featured the debut of Diary of a Decade in Downtown Atlanta at the Rialto Theatre. Around 1:30 p.m. on that day, I dashed down to get tickets and to my surprise as I was leaving I saw Jason Orr, The Funk Jazz Kafes Founder and the Producer of the movie. Although I had attended Funk Jazz twice, I had never met him. Like his events, he had a positive welcoming and Earthy Funk Jazz vibe. Now, I overstand how the Funk Jazz Kafe did what it did; bring the arts, entertainment and people together in a way that Atlanta has never seen. The Funk Jazz Kafe is a indoor festival. No, I need to correct that. The Funk Jazz Kafe is a GIGANTIC SOIREE. Picture a dance floor, surprise musical guests, real DJs, fresh food, live visual artists, Beautiful models sporting custom fashion designs (usually by local Atlanta designers) and multiple rooms for poetry, massages, yoga and movies. The first Funk Jazz that I attended was about 5 years ago on my B-day. It was held at the Tabernacle and all 3 floors were JAM PACKED. When I walked into the Rialto at 7:02 p.m. I felt like that I was a part of Nikola Teslas new project, The Atlanta Experiment. Talking about nostalgia, I felt like I walked into another time dimension. The soul and vibration was all the way live. DJ Selah was on the 1s and 2s, a congo player was in synchopation with him, Fabian Wiliams was painting, cameras were flashing, people were reuniting and the food was tasty and flowing. After eating and mingling everyone migrated to the theater where they were greeted by Leatrice Ellzy, the NBAFs artistic programming director introduced Jason. He gave a brief welcome and closed with, May this movie inspire you to do what you want to do.

Diary of a Decade chronicles the history of the Funk Jazz Kafe and highlights the underground AfricanAmerican arts and entertainment scene in Atlanta from 1994-2007. Perspectives were provided by Dr. Cornel West, Dick Gregory, Ray Murray, Speech, Stic-Man , Khari Simmons, Jamal Ahmad, Ron Williams, Members from The Chronicle (Funk Jazz Kafs original house band), Joi Gilliam, Erykah Badu, India Aire, Jill Scott, Doug E. Fresh, Cee-Lo, NDea Davenport, Professor Griff, Chuck D., Dallas Austin, Caron Wheeler, Roy Ayers, George Clinton and many others. They provided metaphoric profound statements that provided clarity and introspection on: 1. Osmosis. The corporate filtering of organic Soul music. 2. A Detailed Timeline. The rise, peak and decline of musical expression. 3. Puppetry Musical Arts. The records label pulls the strings of the artists viewpoints and image. For example, in the 1970s Roy Ayers did an album called Africa the Center of the World. He wanted to put a large picture of Africa in the center of the album cover however, his record label did not want it there and instead they minimalized the continent. 4. Musical Gerrymandering. How corporation create names for genres which in some cases stereotypes and pigeonholes the artist into being one-dimensional. 5. Things Fall Apart. The discombobulating of soul music in the 80s and 90s and its connection to how drugs discombobulated urban communities nationwide. 6. The Marketing of Low Vibrations. The psychological attack on African-American youth with the mass propagation of music about guns, violence, drugs, alcohol and sex. 7. Winning Strategies. Action steps that can increase the distribution and presence of independent unfiltered free-thinking music. 8. The Collective Cooperative Building of a Tower. The essence of the Funk Jazz Kafe and how it was a movement that brought together so many people underneath the flag of musical genius, rare expression, creative works, healing arts, nutritious foods harmony and peace.

If you had the pleasure of attending a Funk Jazz event then Diary of a Decade is a must see. As you watch the improv from: Dougie E. Fresh Biz Markie Donnie Anthony David Eric Roberson Talib Kweli Raphael Saadiq Bilal Erykah Badu Jill Scott Michelle Ndgcello Omar Van Hunt Jamie Fox Goodie Mob Jonelle Monae Joi Gillam Public Enemy Arrested Development India Arie Dionne Farris Carol Wheeler Loose Ends You will transcend into a state of blissful nostalgia.

The film and the panel discussion afterwards, provided insight on the African-American Musical Roots of Spirituals, Country, Rock & Roll, Swing, Big Band, Jazz, Blues, R&B, Funk and Funk Jazz! Honorable Mentions: The Mizell Brothers, The Funk Brothers, The Commodores, James Brown, Fletcher Henderson, Thomas Dorsey, Nina Simone, Lionel Hampton, Roy Ayers, DJ Premier, and Pete Rock.

For those who didnt get a chance to experience Funk Jazz Kafe, Diary of a Decade is a MUST MUST see. You will gain an understanding of the impact that the Funk Jazz Kafe had on keeping the underground music scene alive and you will see what can be done when you work your vision Jason said, May this movie inspire you to do what you want to do. For many, I am sure that it did.

My Ratings Highly Recommend? Yes Entertaining? Yes Family-Friendly? Yes Inspiring? Yes Educational? Yes

Why do I give the movie such high ratings? Because its multi-dimensional. In addition to addressing black music history, artists, musical performances and introspective viewpoints, it has strong foreshadowing of the great American dream of entrepreneurship. For example: In the in the backdrop of Khari Simmons you will see the amazing artwork of Maurice Evans. During on of the events, one of the Chronicle band members was sporting a NoNames t-shirt which is affiliated with Tony Dennis, a fashion designer/tailor who is based in Downtown Atlanta. The display of Jasons blueprint; from the soul to the brain to the paper to 10 years of events to the movie. He utilized his gifts, skills and resources to do like Gang Starrs track, Manfiest. This film was more than what I expected. I give thanks to all who was involved in making it happen.

About SentAsha: SentAsha is a Web Designer/UI Developer who LOVES to write, research and learn. She is the Founder of CBI, Clever Business Ideas, a think-tank thats based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, she is a devoted contributing writer/researcher for the IPL -The Image Preservation League | North American Chapter. She is extremely fond of clever and conscious people that do and say clever and conscious things so, connect with her via Twitter @sentinelrising or on air at