Harlem's Social Dairy: 12.25.2006
A Tribute to James Brown (1933-2006)
but not everything
I know. - James Brown
As the undisputed, "Godfather of Soul," Brown built a following that far outstripped film land's Corleones in inspiration, loyalty and influence. To Don Corleone's, "it's not personal, it's business.".... Brown's response might have been, " if it ain't personal, it ain't soul... and that is my business!" To recall his "personally" sweat producing beat and vocals on, "gonna' have a funky good time..." was to possess his calling card. It was in knowing that James, was always going to be "Black" and uniquely James, that places him in the pantheon of African Americans that include the likes of Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali.
Today, as the "personal" in Harlem juggles soaring real estate values with shifting cultural ones, Brown's, "Say it Loud, I'm BLACK and I'm PROUD" appears to be slipping more towards his later, "Livin' in America," penned for some numbered Rocky sequel. My hope is that his spirit, like one of his capes will envelop us, and that Harlem, like Brown from the Apollo stage, will rise up too... Leadin' America in a renewed urbanism that values a little bit of funk and a whole lot of soul! - The Harlem Eye / Harlem One Stop 12.26.06