Suave shot me the trailer to Undeniable on Monday night and it’s worth watching because of two reasons.
1. It gives the outdated term Neo-Soul a more fitting name. If there was ever a sub-genre of music that outgrew its name, this is it and now “Independent Soul” feels more fitting, given the path most of these artists are taking not only with their sound but also with the business side of their careers. The film also uses the term the “Honest Music Movement” to classify it, but let’s not get too damn righteous here.
2. As the title connotes, director John C. Jointer aims to tell the story of those independent R&B artists who survive outside the lines of the traditional music machine, mostly by a combination of not just their talents but through grit and grind.
The path obviously isn’t as easy as it once was now that radio R&B doesn’t have space for those who don’t have major label backing and/or don’t use a hypersexualized image as a selling point. “How do you grow the audience?” Dr. Fredara M. Hadley asks. How do you help more to people to know about all of this stuff…when radio is only playing the Top 40?” It’s not a predicament that’s unique to this one set of artists alone, but hearing their take on how to get by while waiting for a shift to change is one worth hearing.
Undeniable: The Story Of The Independent Soul Music Movement traces the heretofore untold stories of artists and music lovers right from its late 1990s origins through the halcyon days of the mid-2000s to the lawless rule of today where throughout the collective goal is still to develop, maintain, and grow a space in the global cultural landscape for this multi-tentacle brand of “honest music.” In candid, digitally shot, in-person interviews with those who were there and those pressing the movement forward against impossible odds, “Undeniable” introduces a range of talented “newcomers” to the mainstream film-going audience. Director John C. Jointer uncovers former A-list veterans who found a second life through these new technologically driven models after being told they were too old or not the new major label prototype for the successful international pop star.
The film is still in the early stages, currently seeking funding via Indiegogo.