R&B Singers Who Tried Acting [Podcast]

Today we have a reversal of one of our oldest episodes (actors who made funk music) by looking at R&B, funk or disco singers who had acting roles in films.


A long, long time ago, on a Funk Radio far away, we had a discussion about actors who attempted to make funk/R&B music. Now over 2 years later we’re returning to that topic… sort of. This time around we’re doing the opposite, focusing on established singers who tried their hand at acting in films. There’s quite a variety here, pretty well mixed between men and women, and between one-off attempts and more successful ventures. For example, performers like Mark Wahlberg and John Travolta started out as musicians and later made the full-on transition to acting careers. On the other end of the spectrum, we have folks like Prince and Michael Jackson who “acted” in “films” which were more or less extensive music videos in which they perform their own songs. We don’t often talk about movies on this show, so you might pick up a few tidbits of knowledge. Knowing us though, that will be purely consequential.

Since we’re an audio podcast, we can’t represent the films too well in the show itself, but below we’ve included the original trailers to some of the movies we mentioned in this episode. Who knows, you may actually want to go watch a few of these. We certainly will.

Honorable Mentions:

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) starring Tina Turner

Purple Rain (1984) starring Prince

The Wiz (1978) starring Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, et al

Dreamgirls (2006) starring Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, et al

Grease (1978) starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta

Saturday Night Fever (1977) starring John Travolta

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