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Biography Of James Brown

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The Godfather of Soul

January 26, 2005


We will look into the life of James Brown. He is known for his music. In his life, he had to face many obstacles, but through determination, he changed his life cycle. We will touch on the influences in his life, developmental stage and theories that best fit his personality.

James Brown was born on May 3, 1933, in South Carolina. He lived a life without parental guidance. His mother left him with his father when he was only 4 years old. James was often left alone while his father traveled to turpentine camps selling tar for a living. James recalls the times he spent alone walking around in the woods looking for doodlebugs, and playing a harmonic his father gave him. During this time alone, he never had anyone around to talk to but himself (Brenchley, 2003).

In 1938, he and his father moved in with his aunt who lived in Augusta, Georgia. His Aunt Honey ran a Grambling house, and brothel to make ends meet. James would also earn money by working in the cotton fields, and dancing for the soldiers to help feed a household of 18 people. He also spent time in the church sweeping before every service, so that he could learn to play different tunes on the piano (Brenchley, 2003, DVD).

During his school years, he was often sent home because of inappropriate clothing. To solve this problem he would often steal in order to look good enough to attend school. By the time James reached 16 years old, he was arrested, and served 3 years in prison. While in prison he started a gospel group an earned the title "Music Box" (Brenchley, 2003, DVD).

James tried to find his place in life, his interest was boxing, and his idol was Bo Jack the boxer. He did do some semi- pro boxing in his days, and played baseball. Due to a leg injury, baseball was no longer possible. He then turned to his real passion music, and decided to pursue a musical career (Brenchley, 2003, DVD).

Throughout his musical career, he earned many titles "Mr. Dynamite" and "The Godfather of Soul" known as the hardest working man in show business. His demeanor at times was often that of a tyrant, generous nature, tolerant, or at times demanding. He was the greatest entertainer during his time. He is known for his performances on stage. The cape act that he uses on stage came from the wrestler Gorgeous George. In addition, the screaming that he does in his music comes from the preachers he watched while attending church as a child (Brenchley, 2003, DVD).

James would often be plagued with problems in his life by the government. Personal problems also plagued his life divorce, and the death of his first child. He also had problems with drugs that landed him in prison for three years during 1988 (Brenchley, 2003, DVD). In 2004, his most recent problems with the law are the domestic violence issues with his spouse. Through all his problems he always seem to find away to bounce back.

Even though James has his problems, he is also a very giving person. He never forgot where he came from. He continues to help the community in which he grew up, by donating during Thanksgiving and Christmas (Brenchley, 2003, DVD).

Life Influences

Considering the environment in which James grew up certainly had an impact on his life. Some of the influences in his life were being poor, racism, his parents and the church. The areas that affected his moral development stem from when he grew up, doing the time of segregation. Segregation had an impact on how he viewed the world. He felt that everyone should be treated equally. James's moral belief was that blacks should have a choice, and have the same opportunities as others. When he saw the separate drinking fountains for whites and blacks, he recalls the mental pain, but for him only God could take care of. He used his music as away to communicate how he felt. Growing up poor affected James's emotional development. He never wanted any handouts. He always felt that if he wanted something he would work and acquire them on his own. The attitude he had probably came from spending time alone as a child when his father would leave home. This type of upbringing forced him to have a mind of his own taking care of himself without his parents. The last influence on James's life was the church. Here he learned about God and the bible. James has stated that he would leave all his pain and worry to the Lord, because he was the only person that could fix his problems. The church certainly gave him the support during his developmental growth as a child. He never received that from his parents because they were not around.

If James's parents had been around during his developmental stages, he probably could have avoided going to prison. He would have received the nurturing a child needs during development. Who knows how he would have turned out; music may not have been part of his life. Because of his environment in which he grew up that gave him the determination that he had to be successful in life.

Personality Theory

Looking deeper into James's personality my assumption would be that he is extroversion and Freud's theory of superego. Han Eysenck's view of personality traits is that they are inherited. He believes that there are two types of people we encounter extroversion and introversion. In reviewing Eysenck's information, there is two second-order factors extroversion and neuroticism. An extroversion viewed in terms of activity, sociability, risk-taking, impulsiveness, expressiveness, reflectiveness and responsibility. On the, other hand, neuroticism viewed in terms self-esteem, happiness, anxiety, obsessiveness, autonomy, hypochondrias, and guilt (www.Cultstock, 2003). To have a better understanding to what an extrovert is a person who is out-going versus the introvert, who is a shy and quiet person. Personality tests



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