James Brown and 1968

I’m watching “The Night James Brown Saved Boston” on VH1. It is an excellent program.
I was 5 years old on April 4, 1968, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assasinated. I don’t have personal memories of what he did for America, but I grew up revering him. JFK, RFK, and MLK were equal in sainthood in my house growing up. I think I gained most of this sensibility from my mother.
One of the commenters on this program – I think it was the Rev. Al Sharpton but I’m not sure – remarked that James Brown was not a crossover artist to white America, but the artist who brought white America over to African American culture. It’s just stunning to watch how he defused the potential erruption of violence in the city. He didn’t need the police to protect him. He took control of the situation in the concert hall – and the city – that night. It is/was a breathtaking documentary. Should be required viewing in all our schools. If you can watch this and not be moved to battle racial injustice, you have no nerve endings left in your body.
I have a friend who recently told me that she was concerned that African Americans would vote for Obama “merely” because of his race. That he would not be able to fulfill all their dreams, and rioting would be the result. IMHO, if we didn’t have a “second Watts” in response to GWB, we needn’t worry about one in consequence to Barack Obama becoming president.
Say it loud. Be black and be proud.
And if you can’t be black, be anti-racist.

  1. Christian Prophet
    April 5, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Well, if blacks want to consider themselves “victims,” that’s their prerogative. But many do not see themselves that way and will not support Obama. See:

  2. cfrost
    April 6, 2008 at 12:30 am

    -if blacks want to consider themselves “victims,”-
    Holy crap. Mr. Christian Prophet is the sort of whack job that has helped establish America’s reputation as the world’s foremost freak hatchery. You can check out his web site, but I’ll save you the trouble: you’ll get better logic from a barking dog.

  3. April 6, 2008 at 3:00 am

    More pro-black music can be found from The Impressions “This Is My Country” and even Donny Hathaway with “Young, Gifted and Black”.

  4. April 6, 2008 at 4:43 am

    Robert Kennedy may have saved Indianapolis. He broke the news to a mostly-black crowd the night King was assassinated. (I hope this doesn’t seem like shameless self-promotion, but I blogged about it here, or you can go directly to a YouTube video incorporating Kennedy’s speech, and skip my comments.)

  5. give the drummer some but maybe not so much?
    April 12, 2008 at 1:45 am

    Um, kind of surprised to see you of all people praising James Brown. The guy was arrested repeatedly for domestic violence in the 1990s.

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