Rabu, 15 Desember 2010

David Leaf - The Night James Brown Saved Boston (2008)

An electrifying, if lesser known chapter of black American history.
Set in the nation wide state of emergency immediately after the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King, when over 100 US cities burned, with 20.000 people arrested and 40 deaths in riots that swept the nation.

James Brown found himself unwittingly in the role of national peacekeeper in the face of nationwide black anger, after the Mayor of Boston successfully negotiated a concert which in effect saved the city from burning .

The knife edge show, which at one point threatened to colapse into a confrontation between the audience and police was broadcast live & uncut on the night of the worst rioting in the US. Subject to continued repeat broadcasts throughout the night on both local television and radio networks it was eventually rolled out nationally in an attempt to distract the rioting mobs across America. This in-itself was an unprecedented media network achievement for a black American.

Afterwards Brown was quickly courted by high powered politicians in Washington, (including the CIA ) and sent on a whistle stop tour of the inner cities to bring calm to a population in a state of anger and shock. Though essentially an entertainer and musician, Brown found himself walking in King's shoes as he became the National spokesman for popular black sentiment in the absence of King himself. From this urgent context, with criticism levied at Brown for what was seen as his collusion with the Establishemnt & regarding his own stance on violence, arose the more militant reaction of the Black Power & pride movements that were to follow.

An extraordinary anarchistic tale which completes the events surrounding the death of Dr Martin Luther King and further brings a new meaning to an upload of the concert in question which can be found here:


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