Stars come to Augusta for 'Get On Up' premiere

Stars appear for red carpet walk, screening

Three nights after James Brown’s biopic Get On Up premiered at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, the bright-lights and red carpet shifted from New York to Augusta.

An estimated 700 people attended Thursday’s sold-out event, including director Tate Taylor and Chadwick Boseman, who starred as the Godfather of Soul.

“The Apollo was fun because New York is home for me, but there’s nothing like the AUG,” Deanna Brown, the daughter of James Brown, said. “I’m a little tearful, but these are tears of joy. Tonight’s a great night for the City of Augusta and I know my dad’s smiling down.”

Hundreds of fans gathered outside Regal Augusta Exchange Cinemas, hoping to get a glimpse as cast members walked the Red Carpet.

Among the actors in attendance was Lakeside High graduate Keith Robinson, who plays Brown’s band member ‘Baby Roy.’

“Coming back to Augusta really brings everything full circle,” Robinson said. “I never dreamed that I’d go to Hollywood and be in a movie, but especially not one that’s screening in Augusta about such a historic subject like James Brown. It’s truly a blessing.”

Tickets quickly sold out for Thursday’s showing, as well as for the after-premiere party at Augusta Museum of History.

Proceeds from both events benefitted the James Brown Family Foundation.

“The world’s in Augusta tonight and I know for a fact James Brown is in his shoes, smiling,” said long-time friend and radio show host Minnesota Fattz. “I’ve been doing radio for almost 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this in Augusta.”

James Brown’s family was the second-to-last group to walk the Red Carpet, followed only by Taylor and Boseman.

Boseman, best known for starring as Jackie Robinson in 42, says he was initially hesitant about taking the role.

“It’s hard to put into words how much pressure it is to live up to everyone’s expectations of James Brown,” he said. “But I do my best not to think about it. It’s like shooting free-throws at the end of a game – You just gotta block out the crowd.”

For Taylor, having a premiere in Augusta was “a no-brainer.”

“This is the perfect cherry-on-top,” the director said. “It was very fitting to return to the Apollo where Mr. Brown performed for decades, but we absolutely had to come back to Augusta, too. Chad (Boseman) and I were here a year ago meeting with the Brown family and we’re so happy to be back.”

Like nearly everyone in attendance, Thursday’s premiere marked the first time Kelly Jarrell Gordon, Brown’s back-up singer from 1993 to 2005, saw the film. Gordon, however, said Thursday was more than a showing – it was a tribute to Brown’s legacy.

“I know my last name isn’t Brown, but his band was part of his family,” the Georgia native said. “The man was a genius and truly started a movement in this country. Sure, he did a lot for African-Americans, but during my time with James Brown, there was no such thing as color – we were all one.”

Get On Up opens nationwide Aug. 1.

 

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Are You Soulful?

Think you know all there is to know about the Godfather of Soul? Before seeing Get on Up, the James Brown biopic that opens nationwide Aug. 1, quiz yourself to see just how soulful you are.

1. How many times was Brown married?

2. True or False? Please Please Please was Brown’s first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Chart?

3. What venue did Brown rent out in 1962 to record his live album?

4. What year did he become the Godfather of Soul?

5. What year did Brown return to Augusta and plead for peace during the city’s race riots?

6. What was the name of Brown’s Augusta nightclub that was eventually destroyed by a fire?

7. What movie did Brown make a cameo appearance in? (Hint: He played a minister.)

8. Brown was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What year was he inducted and what other major musical icon, and close friend of Brown, was also inducted on the same night?

9. True or False? Brown never received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

10. Which president did Brown say his statue on Broad Street looked like?

11. When did Brown die? How?

12. How many funeral services were held for Brown?

ANSWERS

1. Brown was married four times – Velma Warren, 1953; Deidre “Deedee” Jenkins, 1970; Adrienne Rodriguez, 1984; Tomi Rae Hynie, 2001

2. False. Try Me, released on Oct. 1, 1958, is Brown’s first No. 1 hit. Please Please Please peaked at No. 5 on the R&B chart

3. The Apollo Theater. The resulting album, Live at the ApolloVol. 1, peaked at No. 2 on Billboard.

4. Godfather of Soul was coined in 1972.

5. 1970

6. The Third World

7. The Blues Brothers, starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd

8. 1986, Elvis Presley

9. False, he got the star on Jan. 10, 1997.

10. Thomas Jefferson

11. Dec. 25, 2006 of congestive heart failure.

12. Three

TOPIC PAGE: James Brown

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