James Brown's Legendary "Cape Man" Danny Ray Dead at 85

BY Brock ThiessenPublished Feb 3, 2021

Danny Ray — the man best known as James Brown's "cape man" and emcee — has died. News broke today that Ray passed way on Tuesday night (February 2) of natural causes. He was 85.

"The James Brown estate mourns the passing of Mr. Danny Ray, the legendary emcee and cape man for James Brown." the estate said in a statement. "Ray worked with Brown from 1960 until the music legend's death on Christmas day 2006. He became famous for draping a cape over Brown at the end of his signature tune 'Please, Please, Please.' Mr. Ray was the second-hardest working man in show business."

Originally Ray served as Brown's valet before he became the soul singer's emcee, and before long, Ray would earn his "cape man" title by walking onstage during "Please, Please, Please" and drape the singer in a cape. Of course, Brown would then proceed to burst from the cape as he drew upon a second wind. Before long, the act became an iconic part of James Brown's live show.

As Brown's emcee, Ray can be heard on countless live releases by the singer, with Ray working alongside Brown from the early '60s until the artist's death in 2006.

At Brown's funeral, Ray draped a "Godfather of Soul" cape on the singer's open casket, and he performed a similar act at the 2007 Grammy Awards.

As news spreads of Ray's passing so too have tributes, including from none other than than esteemed Rev. Al Sharpton, who tweeted, "Saddened to get the call that Danny Ray, famed MC and cape man for James Brown, died at 85 years old. He was like an Uncle to me as I traveled the world years ago w/ The Godfather of Soul. Danny will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace and Power, family."
Former James Brown bassist Bootsy Collins tweeted, "We lost another Legend Mr. Danny Ray, "Some called him Cape-man because he put on the Cape for James Brown, but for me when a Man Don't need his head Rubbed to activate Other's, he becomes Bigger than his Proceived appearance! Thx u Mr. Ray. Bootsy baby!!!"

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