Zandria F. Robinson is author of This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South and Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life, written with long-time collaborator Marcus Anthony Hunter. Her writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Scalawag, the Believer, and the New York Times. In 2017, she was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for an essay she wrote for this magazine.
A feature essay from the South Carolina Music Issue.
Funk is at once spiritual and pugilistic and reparative and confrontational. It does not demand you apologize for slavery but absconds over the Atlantic with its freedom and hovers over the water on the downbeat, wishing you would try to come steal it again. It buries itself deep in the dirt of a sea island and makes its rhythms shake the earth and then shoots out the ground on a spaceship.
Daddy’s truck was one of those places—like a grandmother’s house, a real and actual soul food restaurant, or a barbershop owned by an older black man who guards the radio by silent threat of the revolver in his drawer next to the good clippers—where one could reliably expect to hear either (and only) 1070 WDIA or 1340 WLOK. It was the other side of sound, the other side of Southern blackness, a steady if muffled undercurrent that persisted and quietly buoyed new generations.