James Brown will die on the stage one night, on the moving staircase of his own feet in front of a thirty-piece band; and then who knows what may be unloosed between black Americans and white?
In Baltimore or Washington or Detroit, cities where the very peace between them has a quality of angry breathing, merely the presence of Brown has been reckoned to equal 100 policemen. Harlem, on the sweltering night after an atrocity, he can cool by one word. At the end of each performance he sings the chorus "Soul Power" over and over again with bass guitar equalling a tribal tom-tom in rhythm that locks up the mind; but he doesn't cause a riot, he empties the theatre. The audience dances out into the street.