James Brown Say What?


Ebony & Ivory

President Nixon and James Brown shake hands resulting in hell freezing over for 2 days. Collateral Damage: Millions lost in bar bets.

You just have to reexamine things every so often. For example, I still find it impossible to believe that in the Presidential election of 1972 between Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat George McGovern; James Brown, The Godfather of Soul, supported Tricky Dick Nixon. WTF (What Terrible Folly)? How did this happen? Supporting Nixon  meant that James Brown, The Hardest Working Man in Show Bidniss, must have decided between the relatively hip McGovern and the positively embalmed Nixon and somehow concluded, “Nixon my boy.” We’re talking about Richard Nixon here – a man who was born wearing a blue suit. And despite all this, Soul Brother #1 thought it righteous to endorse him. Nixon – the closest he ever came to dancing was when he swayed imperceptibly to Kate Smith singing “God Bless America.” Nixon – the whitest working man in show business. I don’t get it. It was a shrewd move on Nixon’s part though. In the same way Astaire gave Rogers class and Rogers gave Astaire sex appeal. Brown gave Nixon soul while Nixon gave Brown spastic colon.

When the endorsement was announced, Chief of Staff HR Haldeman hastily arranged a White House photo op (it may have been leisurely arranged, but “hastily arranged” reads so much better). When The Minister of the New New Super Heavy Funk and his posse arrived unannounced 1 hour early, they were immediately surrounded by Secret Service agents and enough water cannon to blast them all back to Funkytown. Once things got sorted out they were escorted into the Oval Office where Mr. Dynamite remarked, “Shee-it Milhous, you got yourself one bad ass crib here.” Haldeman then translated this jive to his boss who responded, “Thank you Mr. James Brown. However Tricia hasn’t used a crib in more than 20 years.”

Whatever his motivation was, Mr. Brown decided to assist the campaign by filming a TV spot encouraging people (one assumes black people) to vote Nixon:

JB: Owww! Jump back kiss myself. Hey y’all, Mr. Please, Please, Please here and I’m telling you something. Nixon the one. Oh yeah! It’s true his hair more kinky than mine and he got no soul like Caspar, but he still my guy. He can “get down” when Kate Smith singing. He can walk into a dark room, take off his shirt and boom, the room lights up. Just like that. Now get up offa that thing, and vote. I’m James Brown  Owww! and I approved this message.


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