A raw and intimate documentary look at the wildly colorful life of legendary funk artist Rick James from acclaimed Director Sacha Jenkins. Original interviews with artists, collaborators and friends focus on the “punk-funk” music James left behind while illuminating his fearless attitude, social justice advocacy and bold musical aspirations. Featuring rare footage of James’ incredible live shows and never-before-seen home video.
This documentary captures the peaks and valleys of his storied career to reveal a complicated and rebellious soul, driven to share his talent with the world. Known for his unapologetic and charismatic stage presence, James has been celebrated for his massive catalog of such hit songs as “Mary Jane” and “Superfreak.” In this definitive portrait, this film examines the brain beneath the braids, charting his soaring artistic success and eventual personal decline. Sexuality, race, and the tumultuous stew of American culture all contributed to the transformation of the songwriter born as James Ambrose Johnson into the larger-than-life performer forever known as Rick James. Against a soundtrack that compels you to get out of your seat from the opening moments, Jenkins approaches his subject not with reverence, but instead with indisputable care as he delves into the circumstances that birthed this one of a kind personality.
Surprising and enlightening, this documentary pulls no punches with its exploration of James’ tragic obsessions. Comprised of rare archival performances, animation, interviews with family and collaborators and recorded conversations with James himself, this crowd-pleasing film proves the impact that this undeniable force had on American music and popular culture.
Total Duration 1 Hour 52 Minutes
Rick James via archival footage from various years though out his career
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Big Daddy Kane
Todd Boyd as Dr. Todd Boyd
George Clinton (archive footage)
Michael Jackson (archive footage)
Ron Jeremy (archive footage)
M.C. Hammer (archive footage)
Teena Marie (archive footage)
Charlie Murphy (archive footage)
Eddie Murphy (archive footage)
Prince (archive footage)
Nile Rodgers (CHIC)
Levi Ruffin Jr.
Sly Stone (archive footage)
Stevie Wonder (archive footage)