(God I loved this guy’s music; still miss him.)
Weldon Irvine, jazz musician, playwright, pioneer of liberated black artistic expression, and mentor to rappers like Q-Tip and Mos Def, is the subject of an upcoming film Digging For Weldon Irvine. Watch a trailer for the film above.The film, directed by Victorious DeCosta, will cover Irvine’s beginnings in Hampton, Virginia, into his breakout as Nina Simone’s bandleader and the lyricist behind the civil rights anthem “Young, Gifted & Black.” It will also explore his “dedicated mentorship” of hip-hop artists and the jazz communities in Jamaica, Queens, where he resided until his death in 2002.
The film is currently holding a crowdfunding campaign for various post-production costs. From the synopsis: “[Irvine’s] bountiful and socio-culturally evocative work in music and theater was central to the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s; integral to the evolution of hip hop, from its inception through its golden era of consciousness and heavy jazz-laden sampling.”