James Buster Brown: A biography of his life, times and his influence on the world of tap.

Essay by Lizzi514College, UndergraduateA+, December 2002

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James 'Buster' Brown

"Tap brings the whole world together because the whole world is rhythmic, when you feel the rhythm and the beat, it's all apart of us." Brian Daffron knew what he was saying when he put the essence of tap into words. It was Buster Brown who truly believed this statement as well. It was his belief that if you could walk, you could dance. No matter what your age, race, or where you came from, you could certainly dance. Buster had a welcoming presence and enthusiastic support for anyone who wanted to express him or herself through dance. There was an optimism and boundless joy that ran all through this quintessential gentleman and he used himself as an embodiment of what every human being should aspire to be. He was a man with no mean words for anyone and there was not a person who could say a mean word about him; he was a role model.

Not only was he a fine human being but he was also a multi legend, who was a pioneer and encyclopedia to tap dance.

James Richard "Buster" Brown was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 17, 1913. He was the son of William Brown and Maire Ella Otho-Brown. He never had a tap lesson as times were hard and money was tight, but entertainment and education was something that was encouraged by his parents and community. It was in the streets of Baltimore that he learned to dance and early in the 1920s was when his career began at the annual high school show in Baltimore called "Autumn Follies." In the 1930s, Buster was in his first act show called "The Three Aces", which toured all throughout the United States. His next act was called "The Speed Kings"; it was...