I feel it. Our collective and individual souls feel broken over the non-indictment of Michael Brown, and now, Eric Garner. I hear all of your outpouring of anger, sadness, hopelessness.
Yet, I also feel something else going on. I see black people expressing their anger and outrage and call for change in organized marches and sit-ins. I see black, brown and white people marching together saying, “Enough!”
Still, we feel down, we are not certain. We are in a funk. We need some funk to get us out of this funk.
On April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, James Brown was scheduled to play the Boston Garden. Mayor Kevin White almost cancelled the concert due to the unrest in the city the night before–Boston had a volatile racial climate due to forced busing and school integration, and White worried the concert would potentially bring more violence into the downtown area. It was black city councilman Tom Atkins that urged the mayor to not cancel the concert and to televise it free, locally in an effort to keep people home, and the streets calm.
James Brown through his musical talent and grand presence had the exact impact the mayor and city officials had hoped for. Brown even, during a charged moment when some young men, mostly black, kept jumping up on the stage, and white police officers were forcefully pushing them back off the stage, was able to see the potential for racial discord, and asked the police officers to step back,. Brown talked directly to the young men and the crowd, and asked them to have some respect for themselves, and for him. The men listened, and the show went on. It was a quiet night on the streets of Boston. James Brown, and his music had brought people together, and brought peace to a city overwhelmed with grief and upset over the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Now, I’m not saying that UK deejay, music producer Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars come close to wearing the cape of the Godfather of Soul. And it is clear Uptown Funk is definitely influenced by James Brown’s sound. But, it’s not such a bad thing when you’re feeling broken, to get up off of that thing and dance on a Sunday.
SOURCE: www.youtube.com, Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars, posted by VeVo
Photo credit: www.juliettejagger.com