As we celebrate Black Music Month in June, we want to take a moment to highlight Robert Kool Bell, co-founder, master bassist and leader of the Grammy winning legendary funk and R&B group Kool and the Gang. He has been a driving force in the countless hits that have topped the charts over the years. From “Celebration” to “Get Down On It“, Kool and the Gang’s catalog, which sold 70 million records worldwide, has brought joy and inspiration to millions of people around this world – all thanks to the creative genius of Robert Kool Bell.
With this year marking the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, it is of note that much of the Hip-Hop culture in music have relied heavily on the Kool & the Gang catalog – in particular the funky bass lines laid down by Kool on several classic recordings (“Jungle Boogie“, “Hollywood Swinging“). Recognized by musicologists such as the Oscar winning Questlove of The Roots via his Kool and the Gang “sample tree” shared via social media. the band is the most sampled group in Hip Hop history.
But Kool’s contributions go beyond just music. He has also been an advocate for social justice and equality, using his platform to speak out against racism and discrimination. Bell has worked tirelessly to create positive change in the world and his efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Through initiatives such as the Kool Kids Foundation – co-founded by Kool and his departed wife, Sakinah Bell – Robert Kool Bell with sons Hakim (President) and Muhammad (Vice President) are continuing their commitment to preserve music education for youth across the country via their fundraising efforts (The Kool Kids Foundation Golf Tournament).
As an entrepreneur, Kool’s brand of spirits, Le Kool champagne, has been successful in restaurants and eateries in the USA and abroad. Le Kool champagne’s various flavors have whetted the taste buds of consumers for many years. Recently, Le Kool champagne made Oprah Winfrey’s Top 10 list of recommended gifts for Valentine’s Day.
This Black Music Month, let us celebrate good times with Robert Kool Bell and all the incredible artists for whom he has paved the way for future generations. Kool and the Gang’s contributions have not only transformed the music industry but has also helped to shape the culture of our society. Let us continue to honor and uplift black voices in music and beyond. Let us never forget the power of music to bring people together and inspire changes.
About Robert “Kool” Bell
Robert “Kool” Bell Is the co-founder, leader and master bassist for the legendary Pop/R&B group Kool & the Gang, the seven-time Grammy award-winners who also earned many American Music Awards.
Kool and his family emigrated to Jersey City, NJ in the early 1960s with siblings Ronald/Khalis, Rory/Wahid, Kevin/Amir. In 1964, Kool and Ronald joined neighborhood friends Spike Mickens, Dennis Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith to create a distinctive musical blend of jazz, soul, and funk. At first calling themselves “The Jazziacs”, the band went through various name changes—the New Dimensions, the Soul Town Band, and Kool & the Flames—before settling on Kool & the Gang in 1968.
A multi-platinum-selling group and the most sampled band of all time, Kool & the Gang has sold over 80 million albums worldwide and influenced the music of generations with 25 Top Ten R&B hits, 9 Top Ten Pop hits, and 31 gold and platinum albums. Kool’s business ventures include the successful Le Kool champagne and with his departed wife, Sakinah, co-founded the non-profit music education initiative, the Kool Kids Foundation – which is currently overseen by his sons Hakim (president) and Muhammad (vice president)