The Rev. Al Sharpton promised a “royal day in Harlem” as he raced through the night in a van to make sure the late US singer James Brown did not miss his last date at the historic Apollo Theatre in New York.
A horse-drawn carriage waited to take Brown’s body through Harlem this morning to begin three days of wakes, remembrances and a funeral of the kind normally reserved for royalty.
“He was a superstar for common people, and I wanted to make sure that common people got to see him one last time,” Sharpton, Brown’s close friend, said shortly after 9pm local time yesterday, at the start of his journey from Georgia to New York.
“It’s going to be a royal day in Harlem,” Sharpton said. He promised “the kind of homecoming we haven’t seen in a long time, if ever, in the Harlem community”.
Sharpton said the road trip was necessary because logistical problems had made air travel impossible.
“We’re determined to make sure he makes the Apollo,” Sharpton said. “He never missed the Apollo. If we ride all night, that’s fine.”