It’s Black History Month!! I’ve grown up in a world where white america has identified the black race. As a child schools didn’t know anymore than I did. So as I got older I vowed to only uncover the beauty in being Black…. Black History Month pays homage to the African diaspora of profound people throughout history…… So I would like to take the time and highlight the beauty of BLACK EXCELLENCE!
In 1967, African Americans were still called Negroes. That was the term used by civil rights leaders, by the respectable middle class, and by white people who had some modicum of respect for their fellow man. “Black” wasn’t an epithet, per se, but it was far from the preferred term, and was sometimes used as an insult. By the late ’60s, some efforts had been made to reclaim the word, and some inroads had been made. But James Brown blew things wide open with those five words: “I’m black and I’m proud.”
As uplifting as the language of the Civil Rights movement had been in the decade prior, the tone was one of equality—“we’re as good as you, we’re the same as you, we deserve the same treatment as you.” Brown’s statement was no less noble, but the tone was completely different. In this song, Brown loves being black, he’s proud of who he is, and he portrays his race as something to celebrate, not as an obstacle to work around. What’s more, Brown doesn’t simply ask the listener to feel the same way—he insists on it.