The man that influenced many of the greatest artist of all time has passed away. James Brown passed away this Christmas morning and I am saddened. I will mourn for yet a while and then I will celebrate his legacy and our friendship. I called him GodFather and he called me God Son. I am so glad that I honored him while he was living. The memories of our times together I will always cherish. His contributions to society and the African American community are numerous and significant. When we were weary during our journey and struggle for our civil rights and the country was a powder keg about to explode, when oppression and injustice burned like a wet log on an open fire, when the word "colored", was followed by the words," to the back" and "not served", James Brown gave us our pride, self-esteem and dignity with the song,"Say It Loud" which was followed by the words,"I'm Black and I'm Proud". This was during a time when full lips, and afros where not in vogue and were not considered a fashion statement and a movie look. It took a strong man to make the statement that the GodFather Of Soul made.
I was a young kid and I was amazed at the dance moves and energy that The GodFather put down. He was a one man showstopper! A master of the stage. His songs resonated throughout the community. Please, Please, Please, This is A Mans World, Cold Sweat, Hot Pants, Super Bad, Try Me, and many more. From our many conversations and numerous performances together, I had my own personal relationship with the man I was influenced by and whom I held in the highest regards. He would prove over and over again his love and concern for me and I appreciated him for it. Whenever he requested my presence I would make sure to get wherever he wanted me. I felt it was the least I could do to show my respect for a legend who did so much for his people and this country as well as world relations with his life and music.
For the past 50 years James brown has performed around the world and continued to create hot and meaningful music. From Michael Jackson, Prince, and MC Hammer to Usher, Chris Brown , Ne-Yo and Justin Timberlake the James Brown effect and legacy lives on.
In 1991 when I wrote the treatment for my Too Legit to Quit short film, I thought it would be a good time to honor my legend and hero, especially since he had just went through a tough time and being incarcerated. My perspective was that no one is perfect and his mistake did not take away one bit from his many sacrifices and contributions to music and society. I also filmed a special for HBO in Oakland called, "Influences" and chose The GodFather as my greatest influence. I even honored him on the, "Please Hammer Don't Hurt'em", album and tour with my theme song ,"Here Comes The Hammer", remixed to "Super Bad" and put his images in the video. I did a James Brown solo every night. I loved my God Father. I remember him asking me about some evil looking statues in the video we did together and he questioned the meaning of the symbols on the Kings chair I got him for the video. He was concerned that it could be sacrilegious and I said we on the same page thank you Jesus. GodFather would call me and check on me throughout the years and I'm going to miss his voice and laugh. From now on every year I will play James Brown on Christmas Day and honor his memory.
It's fitting that the King would pass into the King Of Kings arms on Christmas morning. He deserved such an honor. I love you GodFather.