— Series that examines and celebrates talented artists who are under-appreciated will feature premieres the first four Sunday nights in November
October 2009, Silver Spring, MD – This fall, TV One brings back Unsung, its acclaimed, original series of one-hour biographies that celebrates the lives and careers of successful artists or groups who, despite great talent, over the years have been under-recognized or under-appreciated. Everyone recognizes Aretha, Whitney, Diana, Stevie, and Marvin. But the full picture of black music in America is much larger than those acknowledged superstars, and many of the greatest have failed to achieve that same level of superstardom.
* Teena Marie – (Premieres Sunday, Nov. 1) There may never be a more soulful, sexy, funky combination of voice and music like that which emanates from the “Ivory Queen of Soul,” Teena Marie. Signed by Motown at 17, and teamed up musically – and for a time, romantically – with funk master Rick James, who produced her debut album, Wild and Peaceful, and later put together their steamy duet, “Fire and Desire,” one of the all time stage show-stoppers. That, and Teena’s robust sound and powerful delivery, helped to overcome long standing racial barriers between Black audiences and white singers. Under the auspices of James, she launched a ground-breaking initiative that allowed her to leave Motown at the height of her career, and also revolutionized the relationship between musicians and record labels throughout the industry. Teena went on to solely produce every subsequent album in her career, while earning four Grammy nominations, and recording a host of classic R&B hit singles, including “Square Biz,” “Lover Girl,” “Oh La La La” and “Portuguese Love.” She also shared a poignant reunion on stage with her friend and mentor Rick James, shortly before his passing in 2005. It’s all part of an inspirational story, still unfolding, of a woman who poured her life into music, and whose music has enriched our lives.
* Bootsy Collins – (Premieres Sunday, Nov. 8) Bootsy Collins is at once among the most legendary and least known figures in contemporary music. Visually resplendent in star-shaped sunglasses and outrageous outfits, he’s also a seriously deep musician, whose pioneering bass lines helped define the sound of both James Brown and George Clinton, and who has since gone on to record with a stunning array of artists from Snoop Dogg to Dee-lite to Slash. He’s also an eloquent teller of his own life story, which he does in depth for this exclusive personal portrait. Along with interviews with members of the original JBs, musical colleagues, family and friends, Bootsy takes us on a tour of his home town, Cincinnati, including the building that once housed King Records, where Bootsy began to forge a career with the man he came to call his ‘second father’ – James Brown. Viewers will see how Brown’s brilliant leadership and personal ‘tough love’ prepared this naturally gifted musician for his ‘anything goes’ years with George Clinton in Parliament/Funkadelic, which led to Boosty stepping into the spotlight himself as the leader of Bootsy’s Rubber Band, and the creation of his larger than life stage persona ‘Bootzilla.’ Bootsy provides candid insight into the personal problems which led him to withdraw from that scene at the height of his career, and what eventually brought him back. Now a civic icon in Cincinnati, happily married and basking in the glow of a life fully-lived – and a reputation fully-earned – Bootsy Collins is ready to let the funk flow in this episode of Unsung.
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