December 29, 2006
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---Family and friends remembered entertainer James Brown in a private service at Carpentersville Baptist Church in North Augusta today. Two of Brown's children are members there.
Some celebrities who knew Brown well showed up to the funeral. News 12 spoke with rapper M.C. Hammer, the artist known for singles "U Can't Touch This" and "2 Legit to Quit".
He talked about the Godfather of Soul and what he meant to him and his career.
James Brown II kissed the window of the hearse carrying his father's body after the funeral. Dannie Rae, Brown's good friend of more than 40 years, says it's hard to believe he's gone. The two had just returned from Moscow and were planning to head out again at the time of the entertainer's death.
"The morning that he passed I was packed and ready to go," Rae said.
News of the Godfather's passing stretched internationally and brought out celebrities like comedian and activist Dick Gregory, boxing promoter Don King, and rapper M.C. Hammer.
"He paved the way for me and other artists," Hammer told News 12. "If this was being held in Alaska I would have been there."
Hammer's flashy moves and footwork in the early 1990's are a sampling of James Brown and the moves he used to do.
"It's not even a question," Hammer said. "Our moves came from him; I don't know an artist that can really put it down who didn't get it from James Brown."
And while internationally known for his music, James Brown was an activist and had a theme: a theme that told blacks there was a reason to be proud; a theme that still rings out today.
"He's an icon," Don King said. "'I'm black and I'm proud...say it loud.'"
"You take a look at a young Michael Jackson and a look at Prince and a look at Hammer, Usher and a list of others trying, you can see the Godfather in all of us," Hammer said.
It was a celebration of life for the man who touched millions of lives through the music he made.