HomeNewsThousands party to honor James Brown's 89th birthday

Thousands party to honor James Brown’s 89th birthday

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Augusta celebrated the birthday of the Godfather of Soul with music, paintings and dancing Saturday.

The James Brown birthday bash was held in the Augusta Commons and featured a long lineup of bands, including children who had been taught by a group organized by one of Brown’s own children.

Deanna Brown Thomas, president of the James Brown Family Foundation, was at the party selling T-shirts with her father’s image to raise money for her organization, which teaches music to children through the James Brown Academy of Music Pupils (JAMP) program.

“We are working to do the types of things that interested my dad,” Thomas said.

Current and alums of the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils band performed Saturday at the Augusta Common. Staff photo by Joshua B. Good.

One of the bands that played included current JAMP members while another included JAMP alums.

Baruti Tucker, an artist and owner of Humanitree House, propped a huge canvas against a tree near the stage and danced as he painted a portrait of Brown.

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“I do know karate, and I know crazy,” Tucker sang, putting his own spin on Brown’s lyrics.

Brown died on Christmas day in 2006. If he were still alive he would have turned 89 on Tuesday, May 3.

Brown grew up in Augusta and has an arena and street named after him and a statue on Broad Street.

Food trucks at the birthday party sold barbeque, lobster and vegan Vietnamese sandwiches. Children lined up to get their faces painted. Old and young couples danced in front of the stage. Politicians shook hands and chased votes. Kids played tag. Even people waiting in line to buy food bopped and grooved to the beat.

“My father would be, I know he’s happy,” Thomas said. “Because there are people out here of all races and all ages and that’s what it is all about. He would tell you, the only race is the human race.”

Joshua B. Good is a staff reporter covering Columbia County and military/veterans’ issues for The Augusta Press. Reach him at [email protected] 

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