The soul of James Brown will fill the Augusta Common on Saturday in honor of the Godfather of Soul’s 80th birthday.
The third annual Get on the Good Foot walk will benefit the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils, also known as J.A.M.P., a program founded by Brown’s daughter Deanna Brown-Thomas to offer youth the opportunity to study music.
The walk will begin at 9 a.m, and will be followed by a festival at 10 a.m.
This year’s festivities will include an impersonation contest.
“No one can be James Brown, but we want to see if someone can come close,” she said.
This year’s theme is family. In keeping with that theme, Kathy Sledge of the group Sister Sledge, will perform. One of the group’s biggest hits was 1979’s We Are Family.
Brown-Thomas said other members of the Brown family will also be there.
“If Dad was around we’d be doing something with him,” she said.
Other performers include Atlanta musician Sinfo-Nia and J.A.M.P. students.
“I am so very proud of these students because they have worked so very hard. That gives me my drive,” Brown-Thomas said.
The first Good Foot walk helped finance the opening of the academy, she said. Last year’s event included performances by the students.
“Now this year they’re really going to rock the house,” she said.
The students released a CD titled JAMP-ism: The New Breed at Christmas, which covers 11 of James Brown’s songs.
All proceeds from the walk and the sale of the CD will benefit J.A.M.P.
Brown-Thomas said J.A.M.P. is the result of her father’s vision to encourage talented youths to explore their musical ability.
“It amazes me. I get teary-eyed every time they perform,” she said. “It just shows me that my father’s music is going to last through these kids.”