Only a couple days before learning about James Brown, I was spending family time when we came across Get On Up, which my parents said was a great representation of the life of James Brown.  While the video we watched in class went into detail about his dynamic, spellbinding performances and grueling hours of practice, the movie showed something that the documentary didn’t. Both his personal and professional life is shown in Get On Up, revealing the way that show business changed James Brown.

Known for his many nicknames, James Brown’s most popular was the “Hardest Working Man in Show Business.” It is obvious that he worked tirelessly to be the best in everything that he does, especially his sound and his moves. As someone who was performing for decades, Brown worked meticulously to perfect his craft. Not only did he understand the performance aspect of show business, but he also understood the profit aspect.


It is obvious that the pressures of show business wore on Brown’s personal life. For many black people, James Brown is seen as someone who was fighting for equality at the height of the civil rights movement. James Brown wanted to show representation to black children, making it clear that he was for the advancement of his people.  

Most importantly, James Brown put a huge amount of pressure on himself for various reasons. In the movie, it repeatedly showed how Brown felt the need to only look out for himself because it is what he has been doing his whole life. Once he reached success, he wanted to maintain success at any cost in fear of what would happen to him if he didn’t. Because of his need to do what is best for himself in the name of show business, he continued to push people away throughout his career.

James Brown’s turbulent career and personal life ultimately birthed a musical legacy that is unparalleled. To this day, Brown’s music has significantly influenced black music in some way, shape, or form. Despite his personal difficulties, he managed to remain a relevant artist for several years. Without James Brown (or his story) black music  

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