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James Brown's body arrives in Harlem for public viewing at historic Apollo Theater

James Brown's body arrives in Harlem for public viewing at historic Apollo Theater

After a long drive through the night from Georgia, the body of music legend James Brown arrived Thursday in Harlem, where thousands of fans waited to see the Godfather of Soul one last time at the Apollo Theater.
Brown's body arrived in a white hearse at the headquarters of the Rev. Al Sharpton, Brown's longtime friend, just after noon.
Pallbearers lifted his gold casket into a horse-drawn carriage for a procession through the streets to the historic hall.
As the white carriage, pulled by two white horses, began rolling, several hundred fans sang the chorus of Brown's anthem, "Say it Loud _ I'm Black and I'm Proud."
Plans called for Brown to lie in repose from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. (1800 GMT to 0100 GMT Friday) on the stage where he made his 1956 debut and recorded a thrilling live album in 1962. A program for family and close friends was planned for 6 p.m. (2300 GMT)
Some fans arrived as early as midnight for a chance to pay their respects.
To many, Brown was more than just the energetic performer once introduced to the Apollo audience as "Mr. Dynamite."
Norman Brand, 55, of Harlem, bowed his head and gently touched the top of the carriage, then recalled the emotion he felt hearing "I'm Black and I'm Proud," for the first time in his native Alabama.
"It really changed the attitude of most black people," Brand said. "It was like a wake-up call. Before that, if you were called black, it was like an insult. Just one song and one word can change a whole situation."
The hearse left a Georgia funeral parlor Wednesday for an all-night drive to New York.
On Friday, a private ceremony is planned at a church in Georgia. A second public viewing of the singer's body will be held Saturday at the James Brown Arena there.
"He seemed like family, a friend of mine," said Brenda Harper, of Harlem, who was the first to arrive at the Apollo, shortly after midnight. Fourteen years ago, she said, "I jumped on the stage and he danced with me. I danced with the 'Godfather' that day."


Updated : 2021-04-16 23:45 GMT+08:00