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Darius McCrary says it was "an honor," but "exhausting" to play James Brown on BET's 'American Soul'

E Dariusmccrary Nathan Bolsterbet 062320
Nathan Bolster/BET

Tonight, Darius McCrary will make his debut as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, on BET’s American Soul.

McCrary, who reveals he had the opportunity interact with Brown, tells ABC Audio that it was an amazing experience to play someone he genuinely respected.

“What an honor it was to serve as the Godfather of Soul,” McCrary says. “We look at him as just somebody who provided us a lot of good music and a good time, [but] there wouldn’t be a Michael Jackson if it wasn’t for James Brown.”

He continues, “There wouldn’t be a Prince…a Rick James….wouldn’t be George Clinton, the Parliament Funkadelic. All of these amazingly talented individuals spawned from studying the Godfather.

That’s why, according to McCrary, there was no room for him to mess up his portrayal of Brown.

“You get an opportunity to do something like that it’s just truly a blessing. And I had to make sure…I got it right,” he says. “And so that’s what I wanted to bring: energy.”

Of course, playing the rambunctious, dancing soul singer was not an easy feat.

“It was probably one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever done,” McCrary reveals. “[But,] I never broke character. I asked that everybody on set call me Mr. Brown because I didn’t want to be confused with Darius at all.”

While it’s clear who McCrary is portraying, there may be some mystery about what’s going on. Rapper-actor Big Boi, who plays Clinton on tonight’s episode, shares some insight on what to expect.

“It’s based on a factual situation that was going on between James Brown and George Clinton,” Big Boi reveals. “They was beefing… battling each other. You got to watch it. It’s hilarious.”

American Soul airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on BET.

By Candice Williams
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