Funk: Getting Socially Active with James Brown

by Avane Ervin

The mid-1960’s was the place to be as a Black person. Toward the end of the Civil Rights Movement, more artists were celebrating the idea of being Black in America- a place where Black people were considered outcasts. James Brown began his music career in the mid 1950’s when Black people were amidst fighting for their rights. His songs gave Black people liberation within themselves as well as hope. Brown’s ability to add character, soul, personality to the funk genre with legendary lyrics and dances are what deemed him the “Godfather of Soul”. 

James Brown used a mix of soul, jazz, rhythm and blues to spark a new movement within Black people. His hit records are mostly associated with historical Black movements, especially the songs “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud” (1968), “Don’t Be a Drop-Out” (1966), and “I Don’t Want Nobody to Give Me Nothin’ (Open Up the Door, I’ll Get It Myself)” (1969). In hip-hop songs today, Browns music is often sampled as it  reinforces the messages of his songs- uniqueness. 

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