The Root sat down with Sacha Jenkins, to discuss his recent documentary Bitchin’: the Sound and Fury of Rick James. It premiered on Showtime last week and is currently streaming on the network. “The folks at Showtime asked me if I was interested and I said, yes. For me, it was it wasn’t a hard decision to make. He was sort of the Forrest Gump of modern culture,” says Jenkins. “People know Rick James as this wild funk guy, but he was a rock and roll guy before anything else. He was in a band with Neil Young, was friends with Joni Mitchell, all that stuff is really interesting”
The Emmy-nominated filmmaker and chief creative officer for Mass Appeal also wanted to make sure he was able to tell a completely unbiased story of the controversial artist.
“His daughter runs his estate. And I told her before we started on the film, you got to tell the whole story. I mean, nobody’s perfect. And certainly, Rick James wasn’t perfect.” Sacha said. “ I have a journalism background and I still believe in journalism. It guides the films that I make. So it had to be balanced in order for me to put my name on it, and it had to be balanced to tell the complete story of who Rick James was. So when I explained that to his daughter, she was on board and I had the ability to tell the story how I wanted to tell it.”
In the interview above, the director talks about the influences behind some of the legendary musician’s biggest hits from “Bustin’ Out” to “Ghetto Life.” One of the unique stories that stands out is the inspiration for James’ iconic braided hairstyle, which turned out to be the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania. See the full video above.