Watch ‘Electric Purgatory’ On Ovation TV This Sunday Or Just Buy It


‘Electric Purgatory’ is an independent film directed by Raymond Gayle about the artistic struggles of Black rock artists. It is well known that Amos Milburn, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Ike Turner, Bo Diddley, Little Richard and many other Black folks pioneered rock and roll and it got co-opted to the point that people like Mick Jagger actually believe in the significance of their imitations more so than the Muddy Waters records they listened to at the beginning of their careers. The Elvis Presley lie in Jim Crow America went over so well that many Black people even believe that rock belongs to whites. Jimi Hendrix clarified this misunderstanding by taking over the rock world during his time in the ’60’s but he was never able to get to Black radio which is something he wanted. Michael Jackson was one if not the first to get a song like “Beat It” on Black and white radio. Prince did the same thing with “1999” and “Little Red Corvette” in the ’80’s for a brief moment but his music was and is still relegated to Black and pop radio. Living Colour made it to rock radio with a slim portion of their catalogue but of course no Black radio for them either. The segregated music industry has made sure that Living Colour stays “at the back of the bus” because their intelligently critical lyrics and seismic musicality threatens the cornball white boy guitar-playing status quo. Their potential power to expose the truth of rock to the masses is so great that Columbia Records repackaged their first album Vivid with a sticker on it that describes the music as the ‘first rap metal fusion funk record.’ No one in Living Colour raps but according to major labels like Columbia when Blacks make music it is either derivative R&B or self-destructive gangsta rap. Fishbone who has been together since 1979 also tear the stage down but after getting as far as the single “Swim” in 1993 Sony dropped them and they’ve been independent since. One of Busta Rhymes’ redeeming values is his collaboration with them on Chim’s Chim’s Badass Revenge. Yet Rolling Stone has never covered any Black rocker significantly but Jimi. Lenny Kravitz has been the only Black man to be wholly accepted on rock radio and it took him ten years to do it but no Black radio for him even after he wrote R&B songs for his albums, did a video “Heaven Help” with a Black woman and a collaboration with Jay-Z. Rap is the new rock and roll and although Blacks have made a ton of money they have a let a white man become a hip-hop icon while publicly dissing Black women. ‘Electric Purgatory’ is an important film to see because it talks about the dilemma of unchained Black creativity in the midst of the music industry plantation. Check it out on Ovation TV this weekend or buy your copy from the website.