Tag Archives: afrofuturism

RIP Pedro “P-Funk” Bell (1950 – 2019)

Pedro Bell was an American artist and illustrator best-known for his work for Parliament-Funkadelic.

When I discovered Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1990s, part of the attraction was the visual style and the grand narrative holding the whole project together. This style was just as much due to George Clinton as to Pedro Bell.

Bell’s unique album and liner notes contributed substantially to the P-Funk mythology and begot the Afrofuturist aesthetic evident also in Jean-Michel Basquiat (see for example the sleeve design for “Beat Bop“).

His precursors in Afrofuturism are Lee “send him to outa space” Perry and Sun “space is the place” Ra.

Unidentified cartoon film by Pedro Bell featuring devices such as a “word scrambler,” a barrel of “fun sludge,” and a drug called “Jodybuster”.
One Nation Under a Groove” (1978), artwork by Pedro Bell

“Bell is a shackle (all shackles are just as essential) in the chain of Afrofuturism, Afro-Surrealism and black science fiction.” –Sholem Stein

A seminal text in his poetic oeuvre is from the sleeve notes of Standing on the Verge of Getting It On (1974):

“AS IT IS WRTTEN HENCEFORTH… On the Eighth Day, the Cosmic Strumpet of Mother Nature was spawned to envelope this Third Planet in FUNKADELICAL VIBRATIONS. And she birthed Apostles RaHendrixStone, and CLINTON to preserve all funkiness of man unto eternity… But! Fraudulent forces of obnoxious JIVATION grew…only seedling GEORGE remained! As it came to be, he did indeed begat FUNKADELIC to restore Order Within the Universe. And nourished from the pamgrierian mammaristic melonpaps of Mother Nature, the followers of FUNKADELIA multiplied incessantly!”

Pedro will be missed.

RIP Keith Flint (1969 – 2019)

Keith Flint was an English vocalist and dancer associated with the electronic dance act The Prodigy.

He contributed to “Out of Space” (1992) which sampled the classic reggae track “Chase the Devil” (1976) by Max Romeo, which was produced by Lee Scratch Perry.

That track featured the Afrofuturist lines “I’m gonna send him to outa space, to find another race.”

RIP Andre Lewis

RIP American musician and producer Andre Lewis (1948 – 2012). He played keyboards for The Mothers of Invention after George Duke left.

Under the pseudonym Mandré, he recorded three space funk LPs, concealing his identity with a space helmet (which looks similar to the helmets used by Daft Punk in their “Get Lucky” single.)

He is best-known for the “space funk” composition “Solar Flight (Opus 1)” (above).