Growing up in poverty, James Brown understood — perhaps better than anyone — the importance of education. He also knew that for many Black men and women like him, college was an impossibility due to finances. That’s why, in his lifetime, the Godfather of Soul wanted to use his estate to fund scholarships for those who needed it.
Now, 15 years after James Brown passed away, that dream has become a reality thanks to a new deal made with Primary Wave Music.
Bloomberg reports that the company — which has made similar deals with the likes of Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, and Prince’s estate — has just agreed to purchase Brown’s estate for an estimated $90 million.
But this deal is not without its issues.
For the past 15 years, several people — including five children of James Brown — have been battling it out in probate court to gain control of the estate. Before any money can be paid out, lawsuits must be decided and settled between current and former executors of the estate. It’s also unclear what will happen to the deal with Primary Wave should one or more of Brown’s heirs gain significant control of the estate, and how the pending lawsuits could negatively impact the estate’s value to Primary Wave.
What will the $90M be used for?
In a statement provided to Bloomberg, Russell L. Bauknight — the executor of James Brown’s estate — said that the $90 million infusions of capital will be used to fund the Brown scholarship trust “in perpetuity.” Furthermore, Bauknight also said that Primary Wave would be contributing a small percentage of some of their deals, going forward, to the scholarship trust.