Originally created 10/30/00

Drummer knocks city for disrespect 103000 - The Augusta Chronicle

If you can't support the man as a man, support the man behind the music.

I'm from up North, so maybe I don't get you Southerners and the way you treat your celebrities. James Brown is a man who has created music that is known all over the world and touched generations of people. I know because I've seen the young kids at concerts around the world yelling, "Get uppa" or "I feel good" or "Get on the good foot." Older folks are saying the same thing. From 10 to 90 years of age, people from around the world appreciate and respect Mr. Brown.

Mr. Brown decides to give a concert on the same night as a major gospel concert. You can expect that a lot of black people will attend the gospel show. I looked around the audience at the James Brown show and there were a lot of white people, about half. The turnout was pitiful.

This may be the last show he will do in Augusta and this world icon gets that kind of welcome in his hometown? If that's not bad enough, the very next night at the hockey game, which I attended, there was a 96 percent white Augusta audience which packed the stands and applauded after the announcement that Mr. Brown was unable to sing the National Anthem.

Where is their common decency? By disrespecting Mr. Brown in that way, they disrespect all that he has worked for in his life, every musician who was on that stage and the music itself. Mr. Brown may have his faults and the media is always very quick to blow many of the stories out of proportion, but where is the common respect this man deserves?

Atlanta gave Mr. Brown the respect he deserved by packing Lakewood Amphitheater. White and black attended. What is wrong with Augusta?

I would be glad to never perform in Augusta again. From now on, any performances I do in this city will be for my friends who appreciate music, and that's a lot of people. I've seen enough. Shame. Shame.

Erik R. Hargrove, Augusta

(Editor's note: The author is James Brown's drummer.)


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