On Saturday afternoon in Augusta, Ga., the world said goodbye to a true legend. James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul” was sent off with four hour long “Home Going” memorial service presided over by Rev. Al Sharpton, and Rev. Jessie Jackson, in the soul singer’s hometown. Seeing the number of people who showed up at the James Brown Arena in Augusta, was a sight to behold. It was amazing to see how many people Mr. Brown’s music and message touched. Throughout the day tens of thousands of mourners passed by the casket of this amazing human being, each paying their final respect to the “Godfather” in their own way. Some passed by with a look, others wept and could not even face the sight of their hero lying helpless in his 24 karat gold casket. From time to time, the line would be stopped, and a celebrity friend of Mr. Brown would be escorted to the front of the room for their own private moment.
By 11:45 the arena had reached its 8500+ person capacity, and the doors were shut, yet hundreds still gathered outside, behind orange barricades, to listen to the service to loudspeakers wired into the arena’s public address system. The following hours are still a blur to me. Remarks were made by Brown’s family, and close friend Michael Jackson. M.C. Hammer, was so moved during a performance of “Like a Sex Machine,” by Bobby Byrd that he broke into dance on stage, to the cheers of thousands, however by the time Rev. Al Sharpton proclaimed the famous words “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust” those in attendance made their somber exit of the building, having paid tribute to a legend.
As I drove home I couldn’t stop humming the hits of the “Godfather” myself. This will definitely be a story to tell the kids one day. May you rest in piece Mr. Brown, and as one mourner put it “Thanks for the Funk!”