All Articles Tagged "james brown"
Can you even count the number of James Brown specials you’ve seen in your lifetime?
On Monday, Oct. 27, HBO will add another one to the mix…and it just might be the granddaddy, or rather godfather, of all JB documentaries.
To make the case, here’s what HBO’s “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise Of James Brown” has working in its favor:
• An Oscar-winning director, Alex Gibney, at the helm.
• Mick Jagger as a producer (fresh from producing the well-received James Brown biopic “Get On Up”).
• Never-before-seen footage, interviews and photographs.
• Interviews with Jagger, Rev. Al Sharpton, Maceo Parker, Clyde Stubblefield, Questlove, Melvin Parker, Chuck D, Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, Martha High, Bootsy Collins and Fred Wesley…to name a few.
• Perhaps most important, the documentary was made with the cooperation of the Brown Estate, which opened its archives for the first time.
Read more about James Brown’s Documentary at EurWeb.com
“You Think That’s Love” James Brown’s Daughter, Dr. Yamma Brown, Talks Cycle Of Domestic Violence In Her Family
When most of us think about James Brown, we think Godfather of Soul, musical icon, legendary entertainer. But for Dr. Yamma Brown, he was her father. So naturally, the next natural question is what was it like to grown up with James Brown as a dad? Well Dr. Brown decided to detail her experiences in her new book “Cold Sweat.”
In it she shares sweet and enduring memories of her father but she also talks about the other side of him. James Brown was also a man who was known to be abusive to each of his three (or four) wives. And growing up with him in the house, unfortunately Yamma witnessed that firsthand. And like many children, went on to choose and marry a man who behaved similarly.
In our exclusive interview, she speaks about her family’s reception to her truth-telling memoir, what she thinks her dad would have to say about it and most importantly, how she’ll ensure that her son and daughter don’t repeat the cycle of domestic violence in their own lives.
In 2012 James Brown’s biography The Life and Music of James Brown was published, providing insight into the King of Soul’s entrepreneurial spirit. Known as the “Hardest-Working Man In Show Business,” Brown owned three record labels, various restaurants, and even a few radio stations. Besides corporations, Brown also notably created James Brown Food Stamps. Although not included in the story line in the singer’s recent biopic, Get On Up, Chadwick Boseman, who played the legendary singer, and Dan Akroyd, who took on the role of Ben Bart (Brown’s manager) revealed information on the singer’s past financial ventures during a recent press conference for the film.
Reflecting on learning interesting facts about Brown, Boseman said:
” The most surprising business venture was the James Brown Food Stamps. It was a part of him wanting to recycle money within in the black community before it goes outside of the community. It was actually James’ idea and obviously it is not still around but it was the most surprising thing to learn about him.”
“Nothing James did as an entrepreneur surprised me. He has a wide range of entrepreneur experiences; he knew how to handle people, money and balance an [accounting] book. Brown especially knew how to make a tour more profitable or highlight another artist. He also had his various radio stations and merchandising. Brown just got it and that had to do with him working from a very early age. Nothing surprised me with Brown, so when you hear he did various things I would say “oh yeah, of course he did that” because he has the knowledge and knows how to deal with the mechanisms of business.”
Spin magazine reports the James Brown stamps died out as the state of California phased them out of the Los Angeles area where the stamps were generally in use.
To learn more about James Brown’s life, check out Get On Up in theaters now.
“It Was Important For Me Not To Judge Her” Jill Scott Talks About Playing An Abused Woman In “Get On Up”
The new James Brown biopic, Get On Up, that comes to theaters tomorrow deals with the good, bad and ugly of James Brown’s life. And trust, it’s not all a bed of roses. He’s lived through some very horrific situations. But he didn’t leave all of his demons in the past. It’s a well documented fact that James Brown was abusive to at least one of his wives, Deedee Brown. And the movie doesn’t shy away from that.
Singer, actress, poet, renaissance woman Jill Scott portrays Deedee Brown and there is one scene where we see her being hit. In her recent interview with Huffington Post Live, Jill Scott spoke about how challenging it was for her to play this particular part and how she learned a new lesson about love during the process.
See what she had to say.
Was it hard as a woman not to snap out of character and respond to being hit?
Honestly, being with Chad, he was so-he so embodied the spirit of James Brown that when we were on set, I forgot about Jill Scott. I was Deedee Brown and he was, without a question, James Brown. That was my husband. Between shooting, I’d get him something to eat, I’d make sure that he was fine, I’d massage his back. We were really in the moment.
Was it challenging for you to play this role as a woman, as a mother
It was kind of hard to play someone who loves someone so deeply and has this abusive relationship. You kind of have to forgive and also, not judge. This is not my life. And eventually, they parted ways.
My mother– and I’ll say I–we were in an abusive relationship, early on in my life, I must have been four when it was all over. I give my mother so much credit for walking away from it, being that brave and never looking back. We were never in that situation again. To understand someone who would stay, for a period of time, I really…it was very important for me not to judge her and just love the man.
Even now, she will tell you that she’s very much in love with James Brown, today. So that’s a level of devotion and love. It taught me about love. It’s not always sweet— I’m not trying to say to stay in that relationship. Please don’t stay in an abusive relationship if you’re in one, please don’t stay, please don’t stay, don’t stay.
But at the same time I’m a voyeur and I’m an appreciator of humanity and I’m interested in people. This was a real lesson for me on a different kind of woman, a different kind of love. I only know my version, I only know my brand. But this was a great experience for me and a pleasure to get to know James Brown on a different level.
We all will if you watch the film, you will find out why he was the way he was, why that voice came out of that spirit the way that it did. Why his body moves the way it does. This was the man who was the father of Michael Jackson, the father of Prince, the father of Fela, the father of so many artists. And there’s a reason for it. You don’t just wake up great for nothing. You have to go through the hell sometimes to get to heaven and that’s just the way it is. You’ll see that.
You can watch Jill Scott’s entire interview with Huffington Post in the video below. The domestic violence portion starts around the 2:20 mark.
On Monday, we had the pleasure of attending the red carpet for the premiere of the James Brown biopic Get On Up. We got to speak to the Brown family, including James’ daughter, his grandson and youngest son. The youngest son, James Joseph Brown II, 13, recalled his fondest memory with his father, his grandson spoke about helping Chadwick learn the moves and mannerisms and then his daughter, DeAnna spoke about the cultural and historical impact her father had on music.
She said, “We want them to understand the struggle and how hard it was for the Godfather of Soul to make it. It wasn’t easy.”
Check out our interviews in the video above.
With the sounds of birds chirping before dawn and temperatures inching above 50 degrees, warm days and comfortable nights are not the only things to get excited about this spring and summer season. There are a host of television shows and films to salivate over.
As the critics continue to chatter, take a look at the 10 TV shows and movies we think will usher in top ratings and box office success for the rest of this year.
I will say, this is a lot better than that first image of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone with that prosthetic nose and fake teeth that we saw in 2012…
Entertainment Weekly showed off the first image from the set of the new James Brown biopic, Get On Up. Chadwick Boseman, star of last year’s hit Jackie Robinson biopic, 42, plays Brown and can be seen above with Brown’s signature pompadour as his band (is that comedian Craig Robinson in the back on sax?) goes to town. According to EW, a blend of Boseman’s own singing voice and an overlay of Brown’s voice are used to make the musical performances come to life.
The movie is being directed by Tate Taylor (who directed The Help) and also features Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer (who will play Brown’s mother and aunt), and Jill Scott, who will play Brown’s wife, Edie. When speaking on why he was so intrigued with Brown that he wanted to do a picture on his life, Taylor had this to say to EW:
“I love that he would stop at nothing to keep reinventing himself so he could stay current, and as a result he changed music.”
Ain’t that the truth? The film is currently being shot in Mississippi and will hit theaters this summer on August 1.
What do you think? Does Boseman make a convincing Godfather of Soul?
Reason 1,000,001 why we love Jill Scott: she acts just as well as she sings.
Not many artists successfully make the music-to-movies transition, but Jill Scott certainly has. Just one month after her latest theater film, Baggage Claim, hit theaters, the über talented Philadelphia native has snatched up yet another movie role. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ms. Scott has been cast to play one of James Brown’s wives, in the highly anticipated biopic, Get On Up!
Though Jill seems to have mastered both acting and singing, a few months back she confessed to Shadow and Act that it’s pretty difficult to balance the two.
“Balancing is hard. I’ve lost roles that I really wanted because I had set up a tour. I cancelled tours to do roles before. But I have to find the time to make that up to my audience. I made a commitment to them. Singing and acting suit me. I made a vow to myself, to do everything that I can do with this life that I have, and I have to find the time to do this. Sometimes I need to be an actress. Sometimes I don’t need to be Jill. However, everyone is always looking for the Jill in everything. People say that they like the characters that they believe that I am. But, I don’t as much. I like the characters that I believe that I am not. Like my role on Law and Order. That character unnerved people. And I loved every second of it. I want to continue growing as an actress. There are ways that I can reach quicker, or deeper, with acting,” she said.
Back in August we told you that 42 actor Chadwick Boseman has been cast to play the role of James. And just last month we delivered the wonderful news that The Help actresses Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis will also be reuniting on the set to create some more of that on-screen magic. In case you missed it, Viola will be playing James’ mother, Susie Brown. Octavia will be playing the late singer’s aunt, Anne Tunney aka Aunt Honey.
As previously reported, Get On Up is scheduled to hit theaters October 17, 2014. This sounds like such an amazing line-up. We will continue to keep you posted as more celebrities are added to this all-star cast.
In an op-ed piece for The Hollywood Reporter, director John Singleton spoke about the problem with black stories in Hollywood being told without the help of black folks behind the scenes, and particularly, black directors being an afterthought. In recent years, white directors have been bringing to life a lot of the big films that have done well at the box office, and while Singleton lauded the movies that got it right (Taylor Hackford directing Ray, Norman Jewison for The Hurricane, and recently, Brian Helgeland’s 42), he shared some inquisitive thoughts about the importance of black folks being the behind the scenes to authentically share the stories of our icons and our people in general. Here are some tidbits from the piece that definitely stood out:
Hollywood’s black film community has always had a one-for-all-and-all-for-one attitude, openly cheering the success of any black-driven movie in the hope its box-office success will translate into more jobs and stories about people of color. But, at the same time, the success of black-themed movies like The Help and this year’s 42 points to a troubling trend: the hiring of white filmmakers to tell black stories with few African-Americans involved in the creative process.
What if the commercial success of “black films” like 42 and The Help, which also had a white director, are now making it harder rather than easier for African-American writers and directors to find work?
That is exactly what people in certain Hollywood circles are debating. When I brought up the issue with a screenwriter friend, he replied, “It’s simple. Hollywood feels like it doesn’t need us anymore to tell African-American stories.” The thinking goes, “We voted for and gave money to Obama, so [we don't need to] hire any black people.”
…I could go on and on about the white directors who got it right and others who missed the mark. But my larger point is that there was a time, albeit very brief, when heroic black figures were the domain of black directors, and when a black director wasn’t hired, the people behind the film at least brought on a black producer for his or her creative input and perspective. Spielberg did that on The Color Purple(Quincy Jones) and Amistad (Debbie Allen). Tarantino had Reggie Hudlin on Django Unchained.
…But now, that’s changing; several black-themed movies are in development with only white filmmakers attached, including a James Brown biopic. That’s right, the story of “Soul Brother No. 1, Mr. Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” is being penned by two Brits for Tate Taylor, director of The Help…it gives one pause that someone is making a movie about the icon who laid down the foundation of funk, hip-hop and black economic self-reliance with no African-American involvement behind the scenes. One of Brown’s most famous lines was, “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing; open up the door and I’ll get it myself.” How is that possible when the gatekeepers of this business keep the doors mostly locked shut in Hollywood?
What Hollywood execs need to realize is that black-themed stories appeal to the mainstream because they are uniquely American. Our story reminds audiences of struggles and triumphs, dreams and aspirations we all share. And it is only by conveying the particulars of African-American life that our narrative become universal. But making black movies without real participation by black filmmakers is tantamount to cooking a pot of gumbo without the “roux.” And if you don’t know offhand what “roux” is, you shouldn’t be making a black film.
Of course, the usual audience for The Hollywood Reporter (predominately white folks) gave Singleton’s piece the thumbs down, but he makes some very honest points that black folks have been talking about for years. I don’t even have to always have a black director behind a major film (because directing is not for everybody), but the concept of doing a black story with no black people involved definitely sounds preposterous. But what do you think?
Check out his full piece over at THR.
When you think of Al Sharpton there are a few things that come to mind. Civil Rights. Reverend. Weight loss. And most prominently, hair. Al Sharpton’s hair is his brand, his trademark. After all, it’s not everyday in this day and age that you see a black man with a perm or maybe a press and curl. But Al has been rocking the flowy tresses for decades, surely as long as he’s been on the public scene. Check out the the styles he’s rocked over the years.