Amazingly, the month has managed to fly by: Today is February 13, the 13th day of Black History Month. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been proudly featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles with the hopes that these artists can guide you towards further understanding of the Black experience.
As the month goes on, I hope that you’ll be reminded of these urgently important facts:
- Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
- America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
- Black art matters.
- Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.
James Brown is without a doubt, one of the most important and influential artists of the past century. Rock, soul, R&B, dance music, pop, funk and hip-hop all are indebted to the legendary godfather of soul, the soul brother #1. Sadly, I never got a chance to see Brown live — but if you saw him in the height of his powers, Brown was a transcendent performer.
Seriously, can you think of anything more righteous than James Brown playing “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)” in Kinshasa? Probably not.