Letter: James Brown deserves some mercy
There is a long list of artists and performers who have tapped their unique, God-given talents and worked tirelessly to bring amazing entertainment to the world, and all along the way have had to fight personal demons. I believe James Brown is one of those artists.
In his recent letter to the Steamboat Pilot & Today, Chris Ricks gives us a litany of Mr. Brown’s failings and misdeeds. If a human being is nothing more than a sum total of his or her transgressions, then God help us all.
James Brown was born into abject poverty. He was abandoned by his mother, abused by his father and, ultimately, at a very tender age, given over to a relative who ran a house of prostitution. It’s incredible he survived this horrendous childhood, but then to rise to the heights of achievement as a musical innovator, speaks to a very strong spirit.
I’m not making excuses for Mr. Brown’s behavior; he was responsible for his actions, but I did want to inject some charity where I feel it has been lacking. As a child, no one wanted him — as a famous adult, everybody wanted a piece of him — throngs of people cheered for him as an entertainer, but yet, he had to drink from a designated water fountain because of his race. I can only imagine the conflict within, exacerbated by the use of pills and alcohol to cope.
I was on the bridge back in the early ’90s when Mr. Brown came to Steamboat Springs to dedicate the “James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge.” There was an electricity in the air, and the crowd was pumped as we awaited the arrival of “The Godfather of Soul.” James Brown was gracious, humble and so appreciative that we would honor him this way and stayed for awhile to meet people and sign autographs.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
He always gave his fans his all, and that day on the bridge, we let him know we loved him. My prayer for him is what I want for all humanity: divine mercy and perfect peace when life on earth is done.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Thank you to the many individuals and businesses that made our annual Steamboat Springs Rubber Ducky Race for Hospice on Sunday a huge success. We were thrilled to invite community members back once again this…