#BlackPast Get To Know Him: James Brown the first African American to own a private jet

By Duchess Magazine

#BlackPast James Brown the first African American to own a private jet

“Godfather of Soul”, “Mr. Dynamite”, and “Soul Brother No. 1”, a stellar music career of over five whole decades, American singer, dancer, musician, record producer, and bandleader James Joseph Brown’s influence transcended across multiple musical genres, kick-starting their development.

Reputed as one of the originators of Funk music and 20th century’s most influential vocalists, Brown, known for his vocal dexterity, ability to scream on key and magnetic performances, also wowed the crowd with his signature hairstyle and flashy outfits featuring elaborate capes and complemented with conspicuous gold jewelry.

Way back before the mid-1960s when much of America was still hugely segregated, with blacks being looked upon as second-class citizens without the luxury of vehicles let alone private jets, soul singer, James Brown aka The godfather of Soul, rewrote the script! Brown purchased the Learjet with aircraft dealer Robert Graff, becoming the first African American to own a private jet.

When James Brown purchased his 1966 Learjet 23 with aircraft dealer Robert Graff, the music sensation became the first African American to own a jet. With this feat, at a time when blacks were looked upon as inferior, he gave hope to more Africans.

Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia, and first came to national public attention in the mid-1950s as the lead singer of the Famous Flames, a rhythm and blues vocal group founded by Bobby Byrd. He amassed great success as a performer with remarkable achievements to show, earning him the sobriquet “the Hardest-Working Man in Show Business.”

James Brown purchased his 1966 Learjet 23

Brown also broke new grounds with his mega-successful “live and in concert” album Live at the Apollo (1963), which stayed on the charts for 66 weeks. Brown recorded 17 singles that reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts and also holds the record for the most singles listed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that did not reach No. 1.

James Brown was one of the first inductees inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 1992, and was a 2003 recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor.

A passionate performer, James Brown continued to perform and record until his death on December 25, 2006, in Atlanta, Georgia at age 73.


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