The Native Tongues collective is the prototype for hip-hop musical bonds that transcend label affiliation or even style. First established in the early 1990s, the Native Tongues were comprised of Kool DJ Red Alert, The Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, Black Sheep, Monie Love, De La Soul, Chi Ali and the late Baby Chris Lighty. While they did appear on each others albums and toured extensively together, the disparate assemblage was historic for their shared outlook on hip-hop culture and helped define what it meant for a generation of listeners and artists to follow.
Director Omar Akil and Producer Norman Parrish have been working on a Native Tongues documentary Speaking In Tongues: The Legend Of The Native Tongue Posse for the past eight years and have launched a Kickstarter campaign to complete and distribute it.
“The film is a celebratory tale – told by the Posse’s original members – of what happens when a group of proverbial “new kids” choose individuality over conformity to become hip hop’s new “cool kids.” It’s the first ever, complete look at a collective that not only made timeless art-filled masterpieces in the form of recorded music, but also championed individuality while spreading messages of Afrocentrism and self-awareness,” they say in a statement.
Native Tongue members De La Soul successfully funded their latest album And The Anonymous Nobody via Kickstarter and raised over $600,000. While the members have always considered themselves family, the recording of De La’s “Buddy” is considered by most to be the unofficial start of the Native Tongues.
The producers-which includes famed director Benny Boom– have set their fundraising goal at $48,000 and are offering GOLF with Dres of Black Sheep, a Spa Day with Monie Love and a meal with chef Jarobi as incentives.
“Speaking In Tongues gives music lovers and film buffs unique moments no other program can,” they add. “It features Chris Lighty’s last interview on the subject of the collective. And with the sudden, devastating passing of Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, the urgency of this film’s completion was made even more clear.”