PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC: One Nation Under a Groove

Got the Funk? Test your P-Funk Knowledge
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Four men sit and chat in a cartoon-like, old-fashioned barbershop with checked tiles on the floor, two in chairs and two standing behind them.

Three characters dressed in bright astronaut-type clothing: red and yellow bodysuits, gold helmets, large pink fake noses and gold orbs on their behinds pose playfully for the camera.

A cartoon drawing of an astronaut driving a small red spaceship flying through outer space amongst the stars.

“That’s one thing that George Clinton always managed to do. He managed to affirm this awesome power within every funky person.”
—Rickey Vincent, author of Funk: The Music, the People and the Rhythm of The One

Known to its legions of fans simply as P-Funk, Parliament Funkadelic has had a profound impact on the development of contemporary music, aesthetics and culture. PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC: One Nation Under a Groove chronicles the unique alchemy of the musical influences that fed into the band’s singular approach to music, documenting P-Funk’s continuing influence on today’s artists and musicians and featuring an in-depth look at the musical and entrepreneurial mastermind of its leader George Clinton.

A 3-D illustration of a flying figure of a woman, “the Mothership” in a black shiny bodysuit, with stars for eyes, wearing a glowing purple and green space helmet reading “P-Funk” with a gold Afro pick on the side.

Text reads:

Put a glide in your stride
and a dip in your hip
And come on up to the 
Mothership

video icon View a clip of the Mothership (1:58)
Courtesy of Bridgeport Music, Inc.

To create a film that reflected the distinctive nature of P-Funk, filmmaker Yvonne Smith used animation—both cell- and computer-generated—to create the special sequences and virtual environments that reflect the P-Funk aesthetic. Inspired by a P-Funk lyric, she created the “Afronaut,” a cartoon character from outer space who serves as the film’s host and narrator. The Afronaut’s voice is provided by hip-hop comic and actor Eddie Griffin, who co-starred in the popular series Malcolm and Eddie and feature films including Undercover Brother, Herbie: Fully Loaded, and Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo and its sequel Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo. In PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC, the Afronaut descends to earth from a new millennium version of the Mothership, created by computer graphics artist Paul Collins. The Afronaut was brought to life in cell animation from the drawings of Kevin Lofton, a former animation artist on Beavis and Butthead.

In PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC, interviews with the original Parliaments—the late Ray Davis, Calvin Simon, Grady Thomas and Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins—take place in a virtual barber shop, reminiscent of the group’s early years doing hair and singing in a New Jersey hair salon run by George Clinton. The barbershop and the various environments in which George Clinton appears, were created in digital animation. In addition to the Parliaments, the film also features original interviews with George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Garry Shider, Dawn Silva—one of the Brides of Funkenstein—and other key P-Funk band members and staff. Other musicians interviewed include Rick James, Ice Cube, Flea and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, De La Soul, Shock G (also known as “Humpty Hump” of the Digital Underground) and Nona Hendryx of LaBelle. Reginald Hudlin, director of House Party and Boomerang, president of entertainment for BET and a P-Funk fanatic, also appears, as does funk historian and author Rickey Vincent.

Test your P-Funk Knowledge

Which of the following artists has not performed with P-Funk?
  • Bootsy Collins
  • Sly Stone
  • Bernie Worrell
  • Nona Hendrix
  • David Byrne
  • The face of the “Afronaut” cartoon character sporting a ‘60s look: a large Afro, headband, goatee, thin moustache and large green glasses.
Text reads:Take the quiz >>

    What set P-Funk apart from other bands? In the music industry, George Clinton was known as much for his innovative business practices as for his music. Ultimately, Clinton morphed his core band members into multiple groups on multiple record labels, something no one had ever done. The band also created an alternate reality in which young P-Funk fans, especially African American males, could imagine themselves. George Clinton developed a mythology about “brothers” from another planet who came to liberate earth from the restrictions of Puritanical morality. It was a concept that allowed P-Funk’s fans to transcend the confines of their neighborhood and imagine themselves as citizens of a much larger universe.

    At PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC shows, this mythology was realized in highly theatrical stage shows, which Clinton called “funk operas.” They featured elaborate and outlandish costumes and the landing of a space ship onstage—the Mothership—from which Clinton would emerge as Dr. Funkenstein, dressed in regalia that resembled a pimp from outer space. At a time when young African American men had no comic book heroes to identify with, Clinton gave them Star Child, pitted against the villainous Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk in the cosmic showdown between good and evil, between letting your hair down and staying uptight. This battle was immortalized in the Parliament hit “Flash Light,” which is featured prominently in the film. Complete with a special vocabulary, hand signs, chants and tribal rituals, P-Funk remains a not-so-secret society open to all who want a release from the restrictive mores of society. To enter, all you have to do is dance: “Free your mind and your ass will follow!”

    Meet the legendary members of P-Funk >>

    Learn more about the history of the band >>

    View a discography of their work >>

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