PRIDE tells the true story of Philadelphia inner-city swim coach Jim Ellis and a group of audacious, talented African-American youngsters who trained with him, conquering inexperience, prejudice, low expectations and their own insecurities to win honors in a sport that had no black role models in 1973. Directed by South Africa’s Sunu Gonera, the life-affirming PRIDE stars Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (HUSTLE & FLOW, CRASH, RAY) and Bernie Mac (GUESS WHO, OCEANS 12, BAD SANTA).Coinciding exactly with the time and place of the explosion of Philadelphia soul in the early 1970s, PRIDE presented an opportunity for the film music supervisor, Lionsgate President of Music and Publishing Jay Faires, to spotlight such landmark works of Philly’s progressive R&B as “Back Stabbers,” “I Love Music” and “Love Train” by the O’Jays, “Slow Motion” by Johnny Williams, and “Let’s Clean Up the Ghetto” by the Philadelphia International All-Stars in the soundtrack. Faires also tapped the music of such R&B immortals as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, the Isley Brothers and the Staple Singers to create the broad and definitive 1970s soundscape of the film, resulting in a music bed that’s irresistibly propulsive — and extraordinarily evocative of the period’s emerging African-American sense of identity and self-empowerment.
Inevitably, the optimism, inspiration, realism and uplifting message of PRIDE’s musical treasure trove dovetails crucially with that of the film itself — as does “Dare To Dream,” the closing-credit song performed by Grammy winner John Legend, whose career as one of the most-admired voices of today’s new R&B began as a college student in Philadelphia. Legend was commissioned by Lionsgate’s Faires to create the song especially for PRIDE, co-writing and co-producing the track with the film’s director Sunu Gonera and score composer Aaron Zigman. The PRIDE soundtrack CD is released March 20, 2007 on Lionsgate, distributed by RED.
Faires chose the film’s period music score with the direct involvement of Kenny Gamble, who along with Leon Huff, was the architect of Philadelphia’s soul music. They co-wrote and produced the film’s five classic Philly soul songs — and hundreds more, as the protean production talents of black music in the 1970s, and as the founders of the legendary label, Philadelphia International Records.