VH1’s ‘Rock Docs’ to cover funk origins, EDM, Sharon Jones’ comeback

Nona Hendryx is interviewed for “Finding the Funk.” The documentary is a geographical history of funk music that is narrated by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of the Roots.

The evolution of funk music, Napster and Sharon Jones’ battle with cancer are among the topics that will get the documentary treatment for VH1, the network announced on Thursday.

VH1 revealed its slate of upcoming films as part of its Emmy Award-winning “Rock Docs” franchise.

First to arrive is “Finding the Funk,” which explores the history and evolution of funk music and its impact on hip-hop and house music.

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Narrated by the Roots’ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the documentary, premiering Feb. 4, will trace the funk explosion from Dayton, Ohio, to Detroit and include interviews with Sly Stone, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Nona Hendryx, Nile Rodgers, D’Angelo and Sheila E. Acclaimed filmmaker and journalist Nelson George helmed the documentary.

The four-part documentary “The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop” will air Feb. 24-27.

Based on Steve Stoute’s bestselling book, “The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy,” the series of one-hour episodes focuses on hip-hop as a cultural movement. The documentary will examine its most pivotal moments of influence in music, film, TV, fashion, business and politics while tracing its origins in the Bronx in the 1970s all the way to the White House.

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In the fall, the network will air “Downloaded,” which covers the rise of Napster and its controversial co-founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. The Beastie Boys’ Mike D, Noel Gallagher, Henry Rollins, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and JP Barlow all appear. Directed by Alex Winter, the film premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival last year.  

VH1 also plans to air a documentary on the culture of the EDM scene and a film on Jones’ six-month course of chemotherapy after the Dap-Kings frontwoman was diagnosed with Stage 1 bile duct cancer last year.

Previous “Rock Docs” have focused on the glory days of MTV’s “TRL,” the relationship between hip-hop and the 1992 Los Angeles riots and rock’s most famous groupies.


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