Legendary producer, songwriter, and filmmaker Kashif Saleem has written and produced hits for the likes of Whitney Houston, Kenny G., George Benson, Janet Jackson, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Barry White and a host of others. He has recently embarked on a journey to share the history of the R&B genre and its global impact. With 70 million albums sold and many commercial production credits to his name, who better to assume the directing duties on this important documentary.
Over the past 10 years, Saleem has also become a filmmaker with clients including Hyundai Motors America, St. Joseph Health System, and Casey Family Programs to name a few. He has now taken his talents a step further combining two disciplines: music & film to work on his dream project, directing a ten part documentary series entitled “The History Of R&B Music”.
R&B Music came into prominence in the late 1940s with Cab Calloway, The Harlem Hamfats, Count Basie, Louis Jordan and others. “The term Rhythm & Blues” (R&B) was first coined in 1948 by music journalist turned record producer Jerry Wexler. As time progressed Blues, Doo Wop, funk, Disco, dance, and other forms of R&B music began to develop around the USA. Saleem plans to make sure the story or Rhythm & Blues is accurately told to the masses as it’s one of America’s greatest art forms and exports, and as it has been a catalyst to significant societal advancement.
Saleem stated that R&B music has changed the way we thought about love. “In the 1950s, there were doo wop songs. In the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, songs were about coming home to your girl, conveying our social conditions and finding a way out of them, empowering women, fighting against the status quo. Hip hop, funk, smooth jazz, disco, and dance were all borne from R&B music. We learned to express our love, and through R&B music, we were able to frame it.”
Saleem has spent countless hours traveling to various cities around the United States interviewing artists, their family members, associates and supporters in order to capture the stories behind the music and get an inside look into the lives of some of the most creative musicians/artists and music entrepreneurs of our time. It does not matter if you are old school or new school because this documentary encompasses R&B music from 1948 until current. So if you like Lil Richard, Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang, or Bruno Mars and Usher this film series has you covered! His goal with the project has been to gather as much footage and to identify the most pertinent stories that are applicable to the vast subject matter of rhythm and blues music and its influence on world culture.
When asked “Why This Film?” Kashif replied by saying “R&B Music is one of America’s greatest exports and art forms. Its legacy must be preserved in the same way as jazz, classical, rock, country and other American treasures. Without the proper documentation, its legacy is left up to interpretation and opinion instead of fact and over time the true story will be distorted. When we document our art properly, there is a lineage that is traceable. This insures that the proper credit is applied to the correct individuals and organizations. The result will be heightened awareness and interest. Remember there is no geographical region and no societal expression that has not been influenced by R&B music.”
In the last seven decades R&B music has been the soundtrack to the lives of millions, so it is amazing to see Saleem take this project to the big screen. He plans to identify, document, and elongate the true legacy of rhythm and blues music. R&B fans click HERE to see how you can donate and contribute!