James Brown Held the Spotlight, No Matter How Dark Life Got

September 5, 2014 9:33 PM

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James Brown Held the Spotlight, No Matter How Dark Life Got

James Brown was at one of the lowest points of his career when I met him in 1980. Perhaps testament to the depths of that decline -- after his disastrous endorsement of Nixon in 1972, his seeming obsolescence during the disco years and his drumbeat of business failures -- was that he had agreed to let an utterly untested 25-year-old white kid like me shop a proposal for an authorized biography of him.

But from what Mr. Brown told me, and as the wonderful new movie, "Get On Up" powerfully shows, whatever frustrations he was dealing with then couldn't begin to match the pain, rejection and daily obstacles he endured as boy and young man. And if his faith in himself had been shaken, I didn't see it.

Also read: 'Modern Family' Might 'Have One More Season,' Eric Stonestreet Says

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