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A&E, Mick Jagger, Questlove Team for James Brown Documentary

James Brown
(Image credit: A&E Networks )

A&E will examine the life and career of the R&B music icon James Brown as part of a four-part documentary series executive produced by Mick Jagger and Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson. 

The four-part series, James  Brown: Say It Loud will explore the Godfather of Soul’s legacy as a musical force, cultural catalyst and dominant Black creative voice, said network officials. 

The documentary, which will air in 2023 and will be timed to what would have been Brown’s 90th birthday, details how Brown persevered through decades of personal demons, racial injustice and career setbacks to find redemption and become one of the most celebrated and influential artists of the 20th century.

 James Brown: Say It Loud will feature never-before-seen archival footage as well as exclusive interviews with friends, family, collaborators and proteges, said A&E.

Jagger and Questlove will serve as executive producers on the series along with Peter Afterman, David Blackman, Victoria Pearman, Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter, Shawn Gee, Zarah Zohlman and Charlie Cohen. 

“A&E has a long legacy as a home for bold, insightful, and engaging storytelling that pushes boundaries and bring viewers deeper into the lives and worlds they thought they knew,” said Elaine Frontain Bryant, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming for A&E in a statement. “We are honored to partner with executive producers Mick Jagger, Questlove, Black Thought, the teams at Inaudible Films, Jagged Films, Two One Five Entertainment, Polygram Entertainment, and director Deborah Riley Draper to continue this tradition with James Brown: Say It Loud to provide audiences with an in-depth look, not only into the extraordinary life of the Godfather of Soul, but also his immeasurable influence as a cultural force in American society.” 

Jagger said of Brown: “He was a brilliant performer who inspired me from the beginning and was deeply committed to the Civil Rights movement. I have always admired James and learned so much from him. I look forward to bringing  the series to life.”

The announcement comes on the heels of A&E and Lifetime's January Janet Jackson four-part documentary. It also follows a 2014 HBO documentary, Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown.■ 

R. Thomas Umstead
R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.