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*Nelson George was born on this date in 1957. He is a Black author, columnist, music and culture critic, journalist, and filmmaker. He graduated from St. John's University in Brooklyn, after which he interned at the New York Amsterdam News before being hired as Black music editor for Record World. He later served as a music editor for Billboard magazine from 1982 to 1989.
While there, George published two books: Where Did Our Love Go: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound in 1986 and The Death of Rhythm & Blues in 1988. He also wrote a column entitled "Native Son" for the Village Voice from 1988 to 1992. He first got involved in film when 1986, he helped finance director Spike Lee's debut feature She's Gotta Have It. A lifelong Brooklyn, New York resident, George currently lives in Fort Greene. George authored 15 non-fiction books, including the bestseller The Michael Jackson Story in 1984, Blackface: Reflections on Blacks and the Movies in 1994, Elevating the Game: Black Men and Basketball in 1992, and Hip-Hop America in 1998.
In 2005, he published Post-Soul Nation, further developing his concept of "post-soul" black culture. With Alan Leeds, he co-authored The James Brown Reader, a collection of articles about the "Godfather of Soul," in 2008. George's The Death of Rhythm and Blues chronicles and critiques the path that R&B has taken. He takes a close look at the genre's fall to the hands of the mainstream and even suggests that some popular artists "sold out." George has written three detective novels featuring bodyguard-turned-private investigator D Hunter. All three novels—The Accidental Hunter, The Plot Against Hip-Hop: A Novel, and The Lost Treasures of R&B—have been optioned by rapper/actor Common.
In 1991, George co-wrote the Halle Berry vehicle Strictly Business. In 2004, George made a short film called To Be a Black Man, starring Samuel L. Jackson, and a documentary called A Great Day in Hip-Hop. He was co-executive producer of VH1's Hip Hop Honors television show and executive producer of Black Entertainment Television's American Gangster series. His directorial debut, Life Support, aired on HBO on March 10, 2007.
George wrote, narrated, and co-directed the 2012 feature documentary Brooklyn Boheme, portraying the uniquely vibrant and diverse Black artistic community of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill during the 1980s and '90s. Unlike the legendary Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, which was largely a literary scene, the artists collected in these neighborhoods were as involved with newer means of expression (film, rock music, hip hop, Avant Garde theater, stand-up comedy, photography) as with traditional Black artistic pursuits (poetry, jazz). The film premiered in February 2012. Finding the Funk was released in March 2013; it traced the history of funk music from the 1960s to the present day. It was aired in February 2013. In 2015, George released A Ballerina's Tale, a documentary on Misty Copeland.