Insight News

Sunday
Apr 20th

James Brown: One year later

E-mail Print PDF

By George E. Curry, NNPA Columnist

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A year ago, I was en route here to visit my mother for the Christmas holidays when James Brown died. This year, in what is becoming an annual rite, I visited James Brown's statute downtown and also reflected on the twelve tumultuous months that followed his death.
James Brown Statue in Augusta.
Photo: Sir Mildred Pierce

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A year ago, I was en route here to visit my mother for the Christmas holidays when James Brown died. This year, in what is becoming an annual rite, I visited James Brown's statute downtown and also reflected on the twelve tumultuous months that followed his death.

And what a year.

We were subjected to one of the longest gaps between a death and burial in modern times, beginning with Brown's pneumonia-related heart attack on Christmas Day, 2006 and his temporary burial on March 10, 2007, three funerals and almost three months later, in an above-ground crypt at his daughter Deanna Thomas' home in Beech Island, S.C. Plans are to eventually create an Elvis Presley Graceland-like center on Brown's Beech Island estate and place him in a public mausoleum.

Most of his lifetime, Brown's group was billed as "James Brown and the Famous Flames." Because he made them famous, we know many of them by name: Maceo (Parker), Fred (Wesley), St. Clair (Pinckney), and "Jabo" (Starks). The most famous of them all was singer Bobby Byrd.

When James Brown's flame went out a year ago, so did the flame in many around him. Bobby Byrd died September 12 of cancer. Danny Ray, the famous emcee who also took over Byrd's responsibility for placing the drape over JB at the end of "Please, Please, Please," has fallen on hard times. Saying he is living only on Social Security, he lost his house because of foreclosure and he owes about $80,000 in back taxes.

With an estate valued at more than $80 million, lawyers and relatives – some of them belatedly coming forward – are fighting over the money. Brown's will was read Jan. 11, calling for his personal effects to be divided equally between six of his children – Terry, Larry, Daryl, Venisha, Yamma and Deanna. Not included in his will were his youngest son, James Brown II, now six years old (questions were raised about his being Brown's son) or young Brown's mother, Tomi Rae Hynie, who claims to be his fourth wife (like everything else, that is also being challenged).

After Brown's death, others have come forth with DNA results in hand, claiming to be his child. So far, about twelve people have named Brown as their father. A chart produced by the Augusta Chronicle list the children as: Teddy Brown, born in 1954 to Brown's first wife, Velma Warren of Toccoa, Ga. He died in 1973 in a car accident. Also born to the first wife were Terry (1955) and Larry (1958). The couple divorced in 1969.

Brown and one of his protégées, Bea Ford, singer Joe Tex's former wife, produced Daryl Brown in 1960. One of Brown's girlfriends in Houston, Ruby Shannon, and Brown produced a daughter, Larhonda Petitt in 1961. Another musical protégée, Yvonne Fair, and Brown had a daughter, Venisha Brown (1965). DNA tests showed that Lea Jensen, who reportedly met Brown at a concert in Vancouver, Canada, had a daughter, Nicole Parris in 1968.

Mary Florence Brown, founder and president of the James Brown Fan Club in Sacramento, had a son with Brown in 1968 and named him Michael Deon Brown. Even though they had the same last name, the singer was never married to Michael's mother.
Deidre Jenkins of Baltimore, Brown's second wife, produced two daughters, Deanna B. Thomas (1969) and Yamma B. Lumar (1972). Christine Mitchell met Brown at one of his concerts in Miami and is said to have had a long-term relationship with him. The couple had a daughter, Jeanette Mitchell, in 1970.

Brown and his third wife, Adreinne Rodriguez, didn't have any children. She died in 1996 after complications from liposuction surgery.

Who will get what as a result of Brown's
 

Recent Comments

Powered by Disqus



Facebook Twitter RSS Image Map

Latest show

  • April 15, 2014
    Sonny Singh, trumpet player for Red Baraat. Sheila Raye Charles and Reverend Colin Akehurst with MetroHope Recovery Ministries.

Business & Community Service Network