A&E Networks is taking fans back to the beginning of James Brown’s illustrious career in a four-part documentary special.
The doc, which has the working title James Brown: Say It Loud, is set to air in 2023 to coincide with what would have been the legendary Godfather of Soul’s 90th birthday.
James Brown: Say It Loud will tell the story behind making a musical and cultural trailblazer who persevered through many personal and career obstacles to rule the top of the charts.
His most challenging moments that had to do with racial injustices in the Jim Crow era will be documented.
Drawing from those experiences, Brown became a symbol of Black America, producing thoughtful and empowering songs riddled with confidence and pride.
Directed by Deborah Riley Draper, the documentary will feature “never-before-seen archival footage,” as well as interviews with friends, family, collaborators and proteges. Big names like Mike Jagger, Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson and Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter have signed on as executive producers of the documentary.
“I am thrilled to be producing the four-part documentary series with A&E delving into the fascinating life of James Brown. He was a brilliant performer who inspired me from the beginning and was deeply committed to the Civil Rights movement. I have always admired James and learned so much from him. I look forward to bringing the series to life,” said Jagger.
“The life of James Brown is significant not only to understand his immense musical impact, which inspires us and other artists to this day, but also for the deep and lasting impression he has had on American culture,” said Questlove and Black Thought in a joint statement. “Brown’s life is a crucial and timely story of struggle, redemption, and self-identity and we are honored to have the chance to share it.”
The documentary announcement comes months after Primary Wave Music closed a lucrative business deal with Brown’s estate.
Under the deal, PWM now owns a stake in Brown’s publishing, master recording income stream, and name and likeness rights.
Revisit James Brown’s “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” below.