We speak with author, music and culture critic Nelson George. And later we speak with Rick “Freeway” Ross about his legal battles to over the use of his name.
About Nelson George: He is an author, filmmaker, television producer, and critic with a long career in analyzing and presenting the diverse elements of African-American culture.
Queen Latifah won the Golden Globe for playing the lead in his directorial debut, the HBO movie ‘Life Support’. The critically acclaimed drama looked at the effects of HIV on a troubled black family in his native Brooklyn, New York. He recently co-edited, with Alan Leeds, ‘The James Brown Reader (Plume)’, a collection of previously published articles about the Godfather of Soul that date as far back the late ’50s. Plume published the book in May ’08.
He is an executive producer on two returning cable shows: the third season of BET’s American Gangster and the fifth airing of VH1’s Hip Hop Honors. George is the executive producer of the Chris Rock hosted feature documentary, Good Hair, a look at hair weaves, relaxers and the international black hair economy that premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Nelson George served as host of Soul Cities, a travel show that debuted in November 2008. on VH1 Soul. Nelson visited Los Angeles, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Memphis, New Orleans and the Bay Area. He eats food, visits historic sites, and hears lots of music. LaBelle, Robin Thicke, Babyface, Rafael Saadiq, Angie Stone and Jazmine Sullivan are among the many artists who talked with Nelson and perform. He currently serves as travel editor-at-large for www.BlackAtlas.com.
Throughout the ’80s and ’90s George was an columnist for Billboard magazine and the Village Voice newspaper, work that led him to write a series of award winning black music histories: ‘Where Did Our Love Go: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound’; ‘The Death of Rythm & Blues’; and ‘Hip Hop America’. He won a Grammy for his contribution to the linear notes package on the James Brown ‘Star Time’ boxed set. George co-wrote ‘Life and Def’, the autobiography of his old friend Russell Simmons. He’s also had a career writing fiction, including the bestselling ‘One Woman Short’, and the story, ‘It’s Never Too Late in New York’, which has been in several anthologies of erotica.
As a screenwriter George co-wrote ‘Strictly Business’, which starred Halle Berry, and ‘CB4’, a vehicle for Chris Rock. His work with Rock led to his involvement with ‘The Chris Rock Show’, an Emmy award winning HBO late night series. He was an executive producer of Jim McKay’s film, ‘Everyday People’, which premiered at the Sundance festival, and Todd Williams’ Peabody award winning documentary ‘The N Word’. In 2009 Viking published his memoir, ‘City Kid’, a look at the connections between childhood in Brooklyn and his adult career in Manhattan, Los Angeles and Detroit. It is now available in paperback.