King Britt

2007 Pew Fellow

1/3: King Britt, 2007 Pew Fellow. Directed by Glenn Holsten.
2/3: King Britt. Photo courtesy of the artist.
3/3: King Britt. Still from Britt’s Pew Fellow short film, directed by Glenn Holsten.

“I create because there’s something in me that needs that.”

Ultimately, King Britt (b. 1968) says, he is on a journey, exploring the patchwork of rhythmic textures from many urban dance music cultures: deep house, hip-hop, broken beat, nu-jazz, funk, and afro-tech. He grew up in Philadelphia—the root of his inspiration—and has worked with many of the city’s living legends of soul and R&B, such as Grover Washington, Jr., Kathy Sledge, Gamble and Huff, and James Poyser.

Britt studied marketing at Temple University. In 2006, he was commissioned by Charles O. Anderson’s (2007 Pew Fellow) dance theatre X to score a piece, which premiered at the 2007 FringeArts Festival and Philly Fringe. The same year, he scored four original compositions for the civil rights movement documentary film Never Lose Sight of Freedom, as well as six original compositions for Michael Mann’s film, Miami Vice. Britt conceptualized, recorded, and toured a multimedia live rock project, “King Britt Presents Sister Gertrude Morgan,” in collaboration with Preservation Hall in New Orleans, which was performed around the world at venues such as the Whitney Museum and the Nuspirit Festival in Helsinki, Finland. He was bandleader and music director for the Sylk130 collective, produced two albums—When the Funk Hits the Fan (Ovum/Sony, 1998) and Re-Members Only (Six Degrees, 2001). He was DJ for Grammy Award-winning hip-hop/soul group the Digable Planets.

References

Poet and Pew Fellow Yolanda Wisher on creating “poetics of use,” the inspiration she draws from her ancestry, and more.

Pew Fellow Afaa Michael Weaver has received the 2014 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, a $100,000 award given annually by Claremont Graduate University.

Grants & Grantees

Moments of grace or insight or good writing actually are dependent on a day-to-day process.

The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change will conduct a community concert at the Collingdale Agape Missionary Church of the Nazarene, as part of the Philadelphia Folklore Project’s Center-supported initiative.

Grants & Grantees

In 2003 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 63 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.

Grants & Grantees

Homer Jackson is a visual artist, performance artist, and a 1998 Pew Fellow.

MacArthur Fellow Ken Vandermark and the Made to Break Ensemble premiere a piece inspired by the Barnes Foundation’s collection.

Grants & Grantees

Jones is a movement performance artist who intertwines personal history, diasporic movement, social commentary, and interdisciplinary methods, drawing from, in her words, “the individual and collective lived experiences of blackness.”

Collaborators & Colleagues

Since the late 1970s, Danny Yung has established a reputation as one of Hong Kong’s most influential and pioneering artists.

Grants & Grantees

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society presented a series intended to forge connections between preeminent chamber musicians and the next generation of classical music audiences.

Legendary Philadelphia jazz musicians—including guitarists Pat Martino and Monnette Sudler, pianist Dave Burrell, and saxophonist Jimmy Heath—will headline a four-part concert series inspired by the first published collection of compositions by the city’s jazz artists.

A number of Center-supported performances take the stage this summer, including seven new musical commissions by The Crossing and the world premiere of Pablo Batista’s music and dance production El Viaje (The Journey).