Monday 25 December 2006

The passing of soul

His soul has departed

Sadly, news reaches us that James Brown has died at 73. His repertoire of music, songs and lyrics would serve as a catalogue of influence and inspiration he gave to entertainment from which he first earned the accolade of Father of Soul and the Grandfather of Soul.

If anything, his music became part of the movement to help black people see that they do not have to change who they are, especially pertaining to their racial identity, to be people who can significantly change their circumstances and society at large.

Black and proud

When he sang, I am black and proud, it was an anthem of an era, around the time of societal ructions in America as blacks were trying to gain equal citizenship and opportunities to the American dream.

Many would say, "I am black" would suffice and there is no need to say it loud, we have always had our blackness as part of our being, if we cannot live with who were are, then we have been overcome with a poverty of spirit.

Still fighting the old fight

Unfortunately, there are still many who are caught in the yoke of the pre-civil rights days, who still view their race at a disadvantage, who cannot mouth the words of that emancipation for the fear of selling-out of a life steeped in the hatred of all other races and a deeper hatred of those of their race who have just decided to make the best of life without the baggage of the politics of race deprivation.

The passing of James Brown indeed marks the passing of an era, one of the many musicians who whilst entertaining sent a message to their people to stand up like men and women who have rights, can exercise privileges and succeed exceedingly well.

Being black and being successful

In the same vein, one remembers Fela Anikulapo Kuti who in his Open & Close album exhorted us to "Shake your yansh (back-side) like a black man. Basically, the message is, no matter your colour, it should not be an impediment to being whatever you have dreamt you have ever wanted to be, except when you decide to change your colour.

Adieu! James Brown - The Apostle and Grandfather of Soul.

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