Oct. 5 marked the fourth annual National Get Funky Day, and the spirit of funk lives on. From what started as a community movement by a Florida exercise center appropriately named Funkytown Fitness came the birth of National Get Funky Day. This center used funk music, style and energy to lift people’s spirits and cultivate a resilient community in the devastating wake of Hurricane Matthew. The funkified acts of this community caught the country’s attention, and National Get Funky Day was born a year later. With its unique ability to transcend racial, generational and social differences, the spirit of funk can live within us all and continue to be a healing force for hurting communities as it was after Hurricane Matthew.
Although closely related to the 1960s and ’70s, funk music continues to be almost universally enjoyed, in stark contrast to mainstream society’s initial reaction to the genre as it began to gain visibility. In a time of social unrest, funk was rooted in the Black American refusal to integrate or follow the rules of an oppressive society. Unapologetic in their style, lyrics and energetic dance moves, the music and performances were often a creative and radical protest to the social inequality of the era. Having since become widely popular and acting as a heavy influence on other musical genres, funk music provides a timeless lesson through its message of resisting cultural homogeneity while expressing individuality and freedom.
Didn’t know about National Get Funky Day or didn’t celebrate? No worries, there is never a wrong time to get funky with it. Here’s a playlist of some funkadelic songs from iconic funk artists. As we appreciate the historical significance and social activism at the root of this music, we encourage you to express yourself and push boundaries of what may be considered mainstream culture. As scholar Rickey Vincent writes in a book about funk, “Free expression is tantamount to spiritual and mental health.” Check out the playlist below.
“Flash Light” by George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic
Having made this iconic contribution to funk music, George Clinton and the rotating ensemble of Parliament-Funkadelic did not shy away from the bold. In wardrobe, attitude and immense musical talent, “Flash Light” is necessary for your funk celebration.
“She’s a Bad Mama Jama” by Carl Carlton
A singer-songwriter for several genres including R&B and gospel, Carl Carlton created the perfect song for people of any gender identity to dance in front of the mirror to. This 1981 funk hit will never go out of style.
“Brick House” by the Commodores
A personal favorite of mine, this might be the first funk song I was exposed to — my babysitter when I was a little girl was obsessed with funk, soul and R&B. Always a fun time, it’s a great song for “letting it all hang out.”
“Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus and Chaka Khan
Although not very well known in the present day, Rufus is responsible for gifting the world with iconic diva Chaka Khan. “Tell Me Something Good” is slow, soulful, sexy and, of course, funky.
“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” by Sly and the Family Stone
No, I didn’t misspell the title; they got funky with it. This song can be saying thank you to someone special, thank you to yourself for letting yourself be expressive or thank you to the interplanetary prime ministers of funk.
Hopefully, this playlist adds a groovy mood to your day. We at the Clog hope that y’all take the time to get funky with it!
Contact Morgan Saltz at [email protected].