New Basquiat Film Features Fab 5 Freddy, Nelson George
Iconic visual artist Jean-Michel Basquiat holds a unique place in early hip-hop history. While he never picked up a mic and rapped (he was more of an art noise guy), Basquiat was good friends with hip-hop historian Fab 5 Freddy and famously designed the cover and executive produced Rammellzee and K-Rob‘s seminal ‘Beat Bop’ 12” single.
Now, filmmaker and friend Tamra Davis has prepared a definitive documentary on Basquiat that has been showing at New York City’s Film Forum theater. Entitled ‘The Radiant Child,’ the film is getting some excellent buzz for exploring the artist’s unique blend of visual innovation and social relationships with the art, music and fashion worlds in downtown Manhattan.
According to Capital, Fab 5 provides one of the most illuminating viewpoints throughout the film. Freddy particularly highlights Basquiat’s anger at how taxi cabs would drive past, ignore and outright reject him even after he was famous. They both bonded over the odd feeling of being considered important cultural figures while still being subjected to daily racism. Famed author and music journalist Nelson George also appears throughout, discussing how bebop and other forms of African-American music influenced Basquiat throughout his career.
Tamra Davis seems like the perfect director for the project. She was not only a close friend of Basquiat and shot film of him throughout his life, but she’s also been actively involved in the music and art scenes for years. Married to the Beastie Boys‘ Mike D, Davis clearly put her love into this one.