James Brown: Say It Loud 2024 movie review

Greetings and welcome to the Scene 2 Seen Podcast! I’m Valerie Complex, an associate editor and film writer at Deadline. Today, I have the pleasure of conversing with the esteemed award-winning filmmaker and advertising agency veteran, Deborah Riley Draper.

Draper is gearing up for the premiere of her latest project, “James Brown: Say It Loud,” airing Monday on A&E Network. She serves as both director and co-writer for this four-part docuseries, delving into Brown’s profound legacy through exclusive interviews, previously unseen footage, and his iconic music collection. Notably, the series is executive produced by none other than Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and Oscar winner Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson.

Prior to this, Draper directed the compelling two-part series “The Legacy of Black Wall Street” for OWN/Discovery+, earning a NAACP Image Awards nomination for Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Television). Her 2017 documentary, “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” also garnered an NAACP Image Award nomination, shedding light on the story of 18 African Americans who challenged both Hitler and Jim Crow in the 1936 Olympics. The film received global recognition, including acknowledgment from HRH Prince Albert of Monaco at the 2017 Sportel World Peace and Sport Award.

Draper’s filmmaking journey began with her debut feature, “Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution,” which premiered at New York Fashion Week and Toronto Fashion Week in 2012 before airing on Logo TV. The documentary provided an intimate glimpse into the historic Palace of Versailles fundraiser, credited with revolutionizing American Prêt-à-Porter fashion and prominently featuring Black models. Her work on this film earned her the HBO Best Documentary award at the Mill Valley African American Film Festival.

Continuing her impactful storytelling, Draper directed “Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.” in 2021, as well as the short documentary “OnBoard: The Story of Black Women on Boards,” which debuted at last year’s Tribeca Festival.

In addition to her film projects, Draper’s contributions extend to advertising campaigns, including the 2024 Love, Your Mind campaign for the Ad Council, for which she served as writer and director. She has received numerous accolades for her advertising work, including the 2023 Gold Anthem Award and Gold Addy Award for the Ad Council’s Rural Stories in 2021, and multiple Addys and Anthem Awards for the Ad Council’s Covid Education PSA Tuskegee Legacy Stories.

Her talents also shine in other realms, such as her role as archival producer for Hulu’s “Look at Me Now: XXXTencion” in 2022 and her award-winning short film “Illegal Rose” in 2019, starring Jasmine Guy. Draper is set to executive produce the upcoming web series “The Table” and serves as director and executive producer for the forthcoming docuseries “Flipped,” in association with Coffee Bluff Pictures and wiip Studios.

In today’s episode, we delve into the intricacies of documentary filmmaking, explore the enduring power of James Brown’s music, and reflect on the profound impact of his civil rights legacy.


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By acinetv