The late “Godfather of Soul” James Brown thought Ronald Reagan, who served as the this country’s 40th President from 1981 to 1989, was the nation’s smartest leader and a man of conviction.
This surprising commentary was part of a vintage interview with the entertainer that was just dusted off and is airing via YouTube as part of a PBS series entitled “Blank On Blank,” reports The Inquisitr.
The “Blank on Blank” series, which began in 2010, is a compilation of vintage tapes, segments on public and satellite radio, and podcasts with icons from every walk of life. The program brings journalists’ unheard interviews back to life.
Brown’s impromptu 1984 interview was conducted by former ABC reporter, Rocci Fisch. The singer was in a dressing room at the Washington Convention Center getting his hair blown dry by his wife. Most of the interview has captions, since Brown was a fast talker and oftentimes difficult to understand.
The Grammy-winning artist can clearly be heard telling Fisch that Reagan “is the most intelligent, most well-coordinated President we’ve ever had.” The soul man continued showering praise on the then-controversial president: “I just know he’s the most well-organized President we’ve ever had in history … His acting ability taught him the whole structure of the country … He knows what everybody wants. You see, every American man is still a cowboy. See, you’ve got to remember that. Because of the frontiersmen …He knew he was going to be president. See, that’s what you call a man of conviction.”
Many Blacks would disagree.
Reagan was highly criticized by African-Americans for being insensitive to their needs at the time. There are many examples of his utter disrespect towards Blacks but the most polarizing one was his use of “Welfare Queen.”
“There’s a woman in Chicago,” Reagan said in 1976 during a campaign stop for the Republican nomination for President, according to an article in the now-defunct Washington Star. “She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards. … She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income alone is over $150,000.”
The story was wildly over-exaggerated, but that didn’t stop Reagan from repeating it.
Given that Brown was alive and well at the time, his praise of Reagan is odd. Yet he said during the interview that he did not make political endorsements and was not attached to a Party, saying he was simply a “humanitarian.”
To watch and animated version of the voice-recorded interview, listen to the video below.