Jim Brownmore than anyone else, has created sportsA pipeline to Hollywood that Dwayne Johnson and LeBron James later took for granted. He’s played his share of tough guys in cowboy movies, Blaxploitation movies, and even the occasional parody like a parody of himself in I’ll go Jeet Yo Sokka, the jock-turned-staget composed with charisma he lacks in the range, and never takes himself too seriously. With a film career spanning six decades, Brown broke into acting on just a lark, making a name on Cars of Stars, and then as a character actor. Not bad for an off-season side party.
Although he can be credited with paving the way for athletes who made a name for themselves in front of the camera, it’s the politics that matter most. Over time, his life became the subject of films. Movie 2022 One night in Miami It tells of Brown’s inner circle and his growing interest in social issues in the era when African Americans had to fight for civil rights. When not conceding his share of pain on hapless defenders, he signed the likes of some of the most important black voices and personalities of the ’60s, from Malcolm X to Muhammad Ali.
Not that it stopped him from mingling with Hef and Sinatra at the Playboy Mansion. Brown didn’t corner himself, debating apartheid rulers with the same level of poise and wit he showed kung ko fighting mafia gangs in revenge movies.
Unappreciated at first, Brown would establish himself as a tightrope icon, snubbed not only because of his position but because of his race. Arguably the greatest NFL player of all time, he was dismissed by many teams who ignored his skill set. Oversight aside, the Cleveland Browns knew what they had and signed the rookie to a $15,000 rookie contract. By 1966, he was kicked out of the sport dominated by one of the most toxic meddlers in sports history, Art Modell, who years earlier had chased future Hall of Fame coach (and team namesake) Paul Brown into early retirement.
While Brown never converted to Islam, Muhammad Ali is strongly believed to have been converted thanks to mutual friend Malcolm X, the group sympathizing with the plight of the movement as it individually reflects on its role in society, the path of its nation, and its own careers. In Regina King One night in MiamiBrown’s decision to leave the NFL is explored in depth, and his friendship with others in the civil rights movement prompted him to give up the beatings he received from unsavory owners and defenders (clothing lining and head injury are still perfectly legal).
Luckily for Brown, he happened to fall into the soccer hobby, and found a new team in the movies. He was catapulted to stardom when he signed on to the cast of misfits in the classic war movie Dirty scores. A movie that has inspired countless knock-offs and an endearing “loyalty”… Yeah, we’re looking at you, Quentin.
Pride comes at a price
The account of that night in Miami in 1964 faded into memory as the ugliness of the social situation in America grew. By the late 1960s, his friend Ali was banned from boxing for refusing to submit to the Vietnam War draft, his friend Sam Cooke perished in a shooting, and to this day remains shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories. Malcolm X was assassinated by his enemies in the NOI, after he left the group months earlier.
Sneaked into Brown’s introduction Dirty scores It is an undisguised hit in the draft. And if that was deemed controversial, things were about to get even more shocking when the West was made 100 rifles, his sex scene with Raquel Welch was unheard of in a film at the time. That was the first day of shooting. Brown approached films as a means of showing black people in a positive light, but was aware of the dangers of appearing moral or sad. Finding suitable texts proved difficult, as he told Dick Cavett in 1970: “I think the liberals are very confused about what to do with the black movement. I think the black movement is at a dead end.”
Although he respected Martin Luther King, he disagreed with the idea of ”passive resistance.” This philosophy of not taking the abuse of lying would permeate every future role he takes on, reinventing himself in the blaxploitation franchise as Slaughter. Perhaps because he felt his political reasons had hit a brick wall, he chose a simple and effective route of making accessible action films with broad appeal featuring thoughtful and nuanced black roles. Oh, and also beat up a bunch of aliens dressed as Tim Burton’s King Tut Mars Attacks!.
From the back field to the front line
Fittingly, a college athlete All-American, Brown returned to sports-related roles in his later acting career, landing cameos in He’s got a game And draft day. He even manages to land a good streak in the movie running guy Amidst a slew of mutineers from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura as a cold-blooded killer armed with a flamethrower in a dystopian reality TV show. Brown has also remarkably returned to the soccer field in Any Sundayplaying against type as an obscene hurling coach about to pop a blood vessel, acting alongside Al Pacino, who called it one of his favorite moments in his long career.
Never forgetting where he came from, or what his friends like Malcolm X lived and died for, Brown dedicated himself to causes such as ending gang violence, using his reputation to quell the rivalry between the Bloods and the Crips. Solving the issue of violence in America, for him, means reaching people on an individual level, not some large-scale social aid. Before his death, he said, “It’s not about teaching someone how to change their life, it’s giving them an opportunity…to learn certain skills.” It’s no surprise that his films, no matter how diverse they may be in style or genre, have always had one thing in common, and that is the need for self-respect above all else.