James Brown

 by Seth Sandronsky

Music superstar James Brown’s influence was widespread. Count me in as a longtime fan of his. Brown’s recent passing marks the end of an era.

What I wish to add to the many accolades and tributes to him is just this. His song “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” during the freedom upsurge of African Americans nearly four decades ago had an impact that, I think, is being sidestepped. This says more about commentators than Brown. Allow me to explain.

The lyrics in his 1968 song that I note aptly described the conditions of black workers. They were laboring for low wages. Their employers’ idea of upward mobility was a cruel hoax in ways big and small.

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