After a 15-year legal fight with various persons, including five of Brown’s children, the assets of James Brown’s estate were sold. According to Bloomberg, they were attempting to overturn Brown’s will in order to get a sizable piece of the inheritance.
According to the New York Times, the estate was purchased by Primary Wave Music, a company that specialized in marketing estates and song collections.
The music legend intended for the majority of his inheritance to be used to support scholarships for underprivileged students, but the plan was stymied by legal issues. For nearly four years, the Brown estate and Primary Wave have been working on a new arrangement.
The transaction’s price was not announced, but it is believed to have been roughly $90 million. The transaction will include music rights, real estate, and control of the singer’s name and likeness, according to Bloomberg.
The proceeds will be used to endow the Brown scholarship trust “in perpetuity,” according to Russell L. Bauknight, the estate’s executor.
A clause of the agreement states that Primary Wave will give a “small percentage” of some deals to the scholarship trust. It will be utilized to help poor children in Brown’s home states of South Carolina and Georgia, where he grew up. By the end of 2023, Bauknight hopes to have the scholarship disbursed for the first time.
According to the New York Times, Brown’s former wife Tommie Rae Hynie was one of the litigants. Brown married the singer in 2001, only to discover that she was already married to someone else.
According to the New York Times, a state judge authorized a contract between Hynie and Brown’s five children in 2009 to give them major percentages of the estate, but the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned it four years later, calling it a “dismemberment of Brown’s meticulously planned estate plan.”
Brown, who was noted for his colorful costumes and shoes, as well as his trademark haircut, possessed the ability to hold and command an audience with his voice and movements. He changed the face of music in the twentieth century, and his electrifying theatrical show left many people speechless. He was also dedicated to the highest level of performance in his shows and tours and could penalize band members for missing notes, being late for rehearsal, or failing to improvise when necessary.
Overall, during the 1950s and 1960s, Brown not only wrote and recorded music, but he also toured the world on a regular basis, performing five or six nights a week. According to Biography, this earned him the moniker “The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business.”