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Friends, Family Remember James Brown on Birthday


Friends and family of James Brown gathered May 3 in New York City to celebrate what would have been the singer's 74th birthday.

Known as the "Godfather of Soul," James Brown died December 25 in Atlanta while hospitalized for pneumonia.

Earlier in the day, the Rev. Al Sharpton led a rally decrying profane and sexist language in rap recordings. Calling upon the music industry to own up to its content, he led protesters through Manhattan to the headquarters of such major music labels as Sony, Universal, and Time Warner.

Echoing Sharpton's message at a private gathering in Harlem's Apollo Theater, members of James Brown's family also called for lyrical responsibility. "We got to start taking care of our own people, we have to be accountable to our own people," said Brown's son, Daryl. He was lead guitarist in the 17-piece Soul Generals, which backed his father for two decades.

Referencing one of James Brown's best-known songs, his daughter Deanna Brown Thomas said "How did we get from 'Say It Loud, I'm Black And I'm Proud' to where we are today?"