The song, Say it Loud: I'm Black and I'm Proud, was written, recorded, and released in 1968. Some of James Brown's other most famous songs were "I Got You" and "Please, Please, Please".
Say It Loud: I'm Black and I'm Proud 1:49-2:10
We've been buked and we've been scourned, We've been treated bad, talked about, As just as sure as you're born, But just as sure as it take, Two eyes to make a pair, huh, Brother, we can't quit until we get our share
I've worked on jobs with my feet and my hands, But all the work I did was for the other man, And now we demands a chance, To do things for ourselves, we tired of beating our heads against the wall, And working for someone else
Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud, Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud, Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud, Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud, oowee
A look a'here, One thing more I got to say right here, Now, we're people like the birds and the bees, We rather die on our feet, Than keep living on our knees
This song was written to convey that African Americans should not be ashamed of who they are but proud of their heritage. It starts out by saying that African Americans have put up with too much discrimination and they will not stop fighting for equality until they get it. Saying "I've worked jobs with my feet and hands, But all the work I did was for the other man", Brown explains that throughout history they have been working not for themselves but for whites. Now they are going to do what they want instead of biting their tongue and giving in. When James Brown sings "We'd rather die on our feet, Than keep living on our knees" he is saying that now African Americans would rather stand up for themselves and take the pain than live with all of the discrimination and racism.
During 60's and 70's the African American Civil Rights Movement was increasing and gaining momentum. This song reflects the empowerment of African Americans in this time period. They were making progress with abolishing discrimination starting with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and continuing with the 24th amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. All of these accomplishments were driven by persistence and determination as shown in the song. In his autobiography Brown says "The song is obsolete now... But it was necessary to teach pride then, and I think the song did a lot of good for a lot of people" showing how it was written to promote pride in order to continue the Civil Rights Movement.
This song was popular during the black power movement and when there were many riots and protests throughout American. This song also followed the assassination of Martin Luther King and encouraged people to fulfill his legacy.
Over all, the song is inspiring African American people to take pride in themselves and their heritage. It is telling people that it is time for them to stand up and fight until they are equal. With children singing in the background, this song promotes pride to the younger generation and was written to have an effect on the way that African Americans think about themselves.