The godfather of soul, it turns out, was a Ronald Reagan fan.
In a 1984 interview with Rocci Fisch for ABC News Radio, the late James Brown called the then-president “a man of conviction” and “the most intelligent, most well-coordinated president we’ve ever had.”
The interview, recently animated and re-released by Blank on Blank, a multimedia non-profit organization run by PBS, contains more than five minutes of Brown spewing fragments of wit and wisdom, as well as Fisch’s memories of meeting the R&B legend while he had his hair styled in Washington D.C. before a tribute concert.
Calling himself neither Republican nor Democrat but rather “A man…a humanitarian,” Brown responded with immediate praise when asked, “What do you think of Reagan?”
“His acting ability taught him the whole structure of the country,” Brown sagely observed, adding that “He knows what everybody wants.”
That thought lead Brown into a treatise on the state of the modern American masculinity: “Every American man is still a cowboy. See, you’ve got to remember that. Because of the frontiersman.”
He jumps back to Reagan, saying, “He knows how to act, he knows the emotions of people.”
Apart from his thoughts on our 40th President, the interview ends as Brown rejects the notion that he had reached his peak, saying “Wherever God leads me, that’s where I’m gonna go,” and characterized his unique style as “whatever I want to do.”
Brown also shared his thoughts on race: “Black is not a color; it’s an attitude. It’s the attitude of independence, respect and dignity.”