The Gothic Funk Nation offers its deepest sympathies to all of those who have been displaced, injured, and lost in the tragic earthquake in Haiti. We encourage all past and present participants in Gothic Funk Projects to contribute to relief efforts.
The mainstream media, focusing on the enormity of the catastrophe, has neglected to acquaint Americans with the remarkable and often tragic history of this near neighbor. With a population of over ten million, Haiti is one of the most densely populated nations in the world. The arrival of Columbus marks Haiti’s entrance into modern history. He brought with him European policy tantamount to genocide and diseases that sparked epidemics in the native population.
In 1791, responding in part to the rhetoric of freedom espoused by revolutions creating the (slavery-promoting) republics of France and the United States, slaves in Saint-Domingue, Hispanola, rose up in rebellion. The movement later expanded throughout the island and successfully rebuffed takeover attempts by the British, the Spaniards, and the French. Haiti, whose name is taken from its indigenous Taíno inhabitants, became (and remains) the only nation in the world to have been established through a slave revolution. The history of Haiti has involved frequent intervention and occupation by major world powers, including the United States, as well as dictatorships, extreme poverty, and frequent natural disasters.
However, Haiti has also given the world a unique and special perspective which is enduring and valuable to the Gothic Funk Nation specifically. Half of our ideas, “funk,” are derived from the French usage of the word fumus, or “smoke.” This complex and ancient word acquired many of its present connotations (aesthetic, sensory, and sexual) through the work of musicians like James Brown and Little Richard. The traditions of the African Diaspora, as carried over to Caribbean and American slave communities, inspired these artists. Faith traditions such as Vodou and Santería are highly developed in Haiti and the scope of their influence cannot be denied. These traditions not only form the dynamic foundations of American funk, but their affinity for the uncanny and the organic has impacted two centuries of southern gothic stylings.
The best conversations about Gothic Funk talk about a convergence between the spiritual and physical worlds, the possibility of progress through faith and ambitious humility, the paradox of human existence, and the preciousness and fragility of a living community. Our collective and cultural debt to Haiti should never be underestimated.
It is with all seriousness that we encourage you, once more, to make a donation to relief efforts in Haiti.
Your donation may be paid to the American Red Cross:
Thank you for your consideration.
The Gothic Funk Nation Steering Committee