Get On Up

The Story of James Brown Hits the Big Screen

Edwin Buggage | 8/6/2014, 11:06 a.m. | Updated on 8/6/2014, 11:06 a.m.
On August 1, 2014 the film “Get on Up” was released. It is the story of James Brown, a man ...

On August 1, 2014 the film “Get on Up” was released. It is the story of James Brown, a man who changed the face of music and the world. His story is a great example showing it is not where you start out in life that is important, but how you finish. And through hard work, determination, perseverance and sacrifice you can make your dreams a reality. In the film Brown is played by Chadwick Boseman who does an excellent job in his portrayal as the Godfather of Soul. Capturing to perfection the many stages of James Brown’s life and playing a complicated character that is an award worthy performance. The film has a stellar supporting cast that includes Viola Davis, as his troubled mother, also in the film is Dan Aykrod, Jill Scott, Lennie James, Craig Robinson, Tika Sumpter, Brandon Smith and incredible performances by Natchez Mississippi twins Jamarion and Jordan Scott who both played a young James Brown.

From the advertisements and trailer of the film left some with low expectations and concerns about how the film would portray James Brown. Would it go into the life of a man who overcame extreme poverty to rise to greatness, or would it be a slapstick type caricature similar to the likes of Eddie Murphy SNL sketch where he imitates James Brown? Fortunately, that was not the case says Melissa “Soul Sister” Weber, who is a DJ at WWOZ hosting a show dedicated to soul music as well doing well attended DJ gigs across town. She is a longtime James Brown fan and says of the film, “As someone who is really into James Brown, he is my favorite artist of all times, I went into the film as a skeptic, and after I saw it I loved the film. I think in the little over two hours the film covered aspects of James Brown’s complicate life. I think Chadwick Boseman did a phenomenal job as James Brown and I feel he should get an Oscar nomination for his role.” Musician and Singer Clyde Wilson agrees, “Get on Up was a great movie, it was very educational and now we know the story behind the glory. In the film it showed that although he was great he was as all of us flawed in some ways. But what I thought was good in this movie is that it showed how he overcame so much adversity to become a success.”

Soul Brother Number 1

James Brown was a man who took his life and fate in his own hands. He was one who was ahead of his time given the racial climate at the time. He was a man who demanded respect and throughout his life and in his passing in 2006 has become an icon influencing generations in the process that stretches far beyond his music. During his life he came to embody a symbol of Black empowerment and someone who fought injustice and using his musical gifts he was a freedom fighter of great importance and an inspiration to many. David “DJ Dave Soul” Holmes is a DJ and music producer who is from New Orleans by way of Chicago who after Hurricane Katrina calls Atlanta his home. He is known for his great skills as a performance DJ and holds James Brown in high regard. “He was one of the few Black artists of the time to take control of all aspects of his career, in addition to getting into other business ventures. He was one of the artists who bought an unfiltered Black sound to the mainstream with music that was unapologetically Black and soulful.”