Everybody knows the Godfather of Soul. Since the 1950s, he has released more than 80 albums, had 17 No. 1 R&B hits and been honored more times than Gandhi. At the 3rd Annual BET Awards (airing June 24 at 9 pm/ET), he'll add another feather to his cap: BET's Lifetime Achievement award. So what's James Brown, now 70, doing talking to a misguided reporter who just loves him for singing "Living in America" in Rocky IV? We're still trying to figure that one out.
TV Guide Online: Mr. Brown, if you're the Godfather of Soul, who are your godchildren?
Brown: (Laughs) Well, first I've got to name Hammer. I'm sorry he quit. I wish he'd come back. And you gotta get a word from Prince and Michael [Jackson].
TVGO: You know your song "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"?
TVGO: In today's terms, would Papa have a Prada bag?
Brown: Well, uh, no. The bag means a concept of music. All the music people are going with it. Back in my day it was soul and funk. Now the rappers have it. But [funk's] coming back real strong.
TVGO: How does one, to borrow your phrase, make it funky now?
Brown: (Laughs) I can't tell you that. What you ought to do is buy all the Godfather's records and you'll know where the funk came from.
TVGO: BET knows. They're giving you a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Brown: They're giving me a Lifetime Award for what I have done. They don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. I've been doing Moses's work. Now I'll probably do Job's work or something.
TVGO: What do you mean Moses's work?
Brown: I've been doing a lot of work that benefits people not me [like] talking to kids, getting them to stay in school.
TVGO: You've gotten so many awards. Do you have any that are more special to you than others?
Brown: Well, I guess the one that I got from The Ed Sullivan Show. That was back when men of color didn't really get a shot to be on [TV]. It was a plaque made out to the Hardest Working Man in Show Business and that's about right, you know.
TVGO: True that. Well, what does the hardest working man in show business watch on TV?
Brown: Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.
TVGO: Are you any good at Jeopardy?
Brown: My wife beats me. She's Norwegian. But I do pretty good on Wheel of Fortune.
TVGO: Okay, now: How does one get on the good foot?
Brown: Well, you just try to do all the things that make sense and try to treat your friends good and your neighbors good and hope that somebody will treat you good.
TVGO: When you were pardoned recently in a South Carolina court, you sang "God Bless America." Why didn't you sing "I Feel Good"?
Brown: Well, I sang "God Bless America" because America is fine and they're coming around to see some of the things they've done wrong. I went to prison for nothing. But that's alright. I'm not mad at nobody, and I thank God that somebody woke up before I died.