Most wildly performing artists have impersonators. Imitation is a great form of flattery. From Michael Jackson to Prince and definitely James Brown, people who revere such artists spend a great amount of time trying to get cadence and image down pat.
So it is with a Brooklyn, New York performer named Velvet Black, born Charles Bradley, who will soon find himself the subject of a photo exhibit for his James Brown impersonations. The photographer, Kelsey Bennett, first saw Black at a show in the Tip Top Bar & Grill in Brooklyn, where he wowed her with his Brown performance.
Really impressed with Black’s dedication to his craft, the shooter, who is also the granddaughter of the iconic singer Tony Bennett, tells the Huffington Post, “Charles saw James Brown play for the first time at the Apollo in 1962 and he describes it as if he was being brought into a different world.” Brown died 2006 at the age of 73.
The impersonator is so talented he will open for Stevie Wonder at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. The photo exhibit debuted last week at the Christopher Henry Gallery and will run through August 14. Talk about helping to keep James Brown’s legacy alive.
(Photo: Sven Hoogerhuis/PictureGroup)