Unsung: The Story of House Music and Pioneer Frankie Knuckles Is Long Overdue
Writer Ronda Racha Penrice gives us the lowdown on the documentary series that recently featured the late Chicago dance music pioneer Frankie Knuckles. Hear what veterans and new fans to the dance music scene can benefit from this long overdue documentary in the full piece by Penrice.This article originally appeared on The Root
DJ Frankie Knuckles in 2007
CLAIRE GREENWAY/GETTY IMAGES
TV One’s docuseries takes an ambitious approach to telling the larger story of this unheralded black musical genre from the South Side of Chicago and the man who fostered it.
Those tuning in Wednesday night to TV One’s Unsung: Frankie Knuckles and the Roots of House will get an unexpected surprise. Unlike previous Unsung episodes, this one is extremely ambitious. Using Frankie Knuckles—the universally recognized “Godfather of House Music” who is perhaps best known for “The Whistle Song”—as its anchor, Unsung dares to tell the larger story of this unheralded black musical genre from the South Side of Chicago. It’s a challenging undertaking that hits both highs and lows.
Frankie Knuckles fans will, of course, be pleased to see the beloved music leader finally get some mainstream acknowledgment. They will no doubt appreciate the brief backstory of his journey during the era of New York City’s Paradise Garage, where he delighted crowds along with fellow DJ and friend Larry Levan (who is overdue for an Unsung of his own), to Chicago’s legendary Warehouse, widely recognized as the birthplace of house music. Fans might, however, wince at how the larger story of house music’s creation overshadows Knuckles himself...