Being the Godfather of Soul is actually a big business for James Brown — even following his passing in 2006.
As AfroTech reported back in December 2021, the estate of the late, great music pioneer was sold to Primary Wave Music for $90 million. The proceeds from the sale went to the James Brown scholarship trust, which will be funded “in perpetuity” from the sale, according to a statement provided by Russell L. Bauknight, the estate’s executor, at the time of the initial report.
Primary Wave Music has made similar deals with the estates of Prince, Luther Vandross, and Whitney Houston.
The deal, however, isn’t quite cut and dry. Several people — including five of James Brown’s children — have been contesting the late singer’s will for the past 15 years. What’s more, it’s not clear what effect this sale will have on any pending litigation currently against the estate. In other words, if one or more of the children gain control of the estate, will the monies from Primary Wave be affected?
Legal experts, as of this writing, are unclear on the answer.
And then there’s the issue of the value of the estate itself. Details vary so much — according to The Hollywood Reporter, the estate could be worth as little as $5 million (which is Entertainment Weekly’s estimate), or as much as $100 million — and the true value of the estate may well never be known.
But, regardless of whether it’s worth a little or a lot, James Brown has left an incredible legacy behind with his nine children. Let’s take a look at what they’re up to.
Editorial note: The net worth listed in this piece is a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources.
Little is known about Terry Brown, who was James Brown’s second son. According to ABC News, he was one of the sons that James Brown acknowledged in his will.
Larry Brown is one of James Brown’s sons, but unlike his father, he’s kept a very low profile.
Of all of James Brown’s children, Daryl Brown is, perhaps, the most public of the nine. In 2014, he penned a book called “My Father The Godfather,” in which he gave fans an inside look into growing up as the son of James Brown.
James Joseph Brown II
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James Joseph Brown II is the youngest son of James Brown, and he’s an aspiring musician like his father. He sometimes posts covers of popular songs to his Instagram page, like the cover of “Every Breath You Take” by The Police which you can watch above.
According to The New York Times, Lisa Brown is James Brown’s first daughter — but little else is known about her life.
Dr. Yamma Noyola Brown Lumar
James’ daughter Dr. Yamma Noyola Brown Lumar didn’t quite go into the entertainment industry like her father. Instead, she got her doctorate from Mercer University School of Pharmacy, according to Atlanta Magazine.
Deanna Brown Thomas
— Deanna Brown 💕💚 (@JamesBrownGirl) May 27, 2022
According to her Twitter page, Deanna Brown Thomas runs the James Brown Family Foundation and frequently takes time to share her fondest memories of her beloved father with her followers.
Sadly, Venisha Brown — one of James Brown’s daughters — passed away in 2018 at the age of 53. The cause of death was complications due to pneumonia, according to Billboard Magazine.
Unfortunately, Teddy Brown — who was actually James Brown’s first son — also passed away in a car accident in 1973, according to Billboard Magazine.