James Brown Part Seven
When you read this blog, James Brown Part Seven, you might think it’s the last one I’m doing, but it’s not the end of James Brown. I’m going to continue with more, but until then, here’s James Brown Part Seven, please enjoy.
Death and aftermath
James Brown memorial in Augusta, Georgia
On December 23, 2006, Brown became very ill and arrived at his dentist’s office in Atlanta, Georgia several hours late. His appointment was for dental implant work. During that visit, Brown’s dentist observed that Brown looked “very bad … weak and dazed.” Instead of performing the dental work, the dentist advised Brown to see a doctor right away about his medical condition.
Brown checked in at the Emory Crawford Long Memorial Hospital the next day for a medical evaluation of his condition, and he was admitted to the hospital for observation and treatment. According to Charles Bobbit, his longtime personal manager and friend, Brown had a noisy cough since he returned from a November trip to Europe. Bobbit added that the singer never complained about being sick, and often performed while ill. Although Brown had to cancel upcoming shows in Waterbury, Connecticut and Englewood, New Jersey, he was confident that the doctor would discharge him from the hospital in time to perform the New Year’s Eve shows. For the New Year’s celebrations, Brown was scheduled to perform at the Count Basie Theatre in New Jersey and at the B. B. King Blues Club in New York, in addition to performing a song live on CNN for the Anderson Cooper New Year’s Eve special. However, Brown remained hospitalized, and his medical condition worsened throughout that day.
On Christmas Day, 2006, Brown died at approximately 1:45 am EST (06:45 UTC) from congestive heart failure resulting from complications of pneumonia, at the age of 73, with his personal manager Charles Bobbit at his bedside. According to Bobbit, Brown stuttered “I’m going away tonight”, and then took three long, quiet breaths and fell asleep before dying.
Public memorial at the Apollo Theater in Harlem
Public funeral in Augusta, Georgia, with Michael Jackson attending
After Brown’s death, Brown’s relatives, a host of celebrities and thousands of fans attended public memorial services at the Apollo Theater in New York on December 28, 2006, and at the James Brown Arena on December 30, 2006 in Augusta, Georgia. A separate, private memorial service was also held in North Augusta, South Carolina on December 29, 2006, which was attended by Brown’s family . Celebrities who attended Brown’s public and/or private memorial services included Michael Jackson, Jimmy Cliff, Joe Frazier, Buddy Guy, Ice Cube, Ludacris, Dr. Dre, Little Richard, Dick Gregory, MC Hammer, Prince, Jesse Jackson, Ice-T, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bootsy Collins, LL Cool J, Lil Wayne, Lenny Kravitz, 50 Cent, Stevie Wonder, Todd Williams and Don King, among others. All of the public and private memorial services were officiated by Rev. Al Sharpton.
Brown’s public and private memorial ceremonies were elaborate, complete with costume changes for Brown and videos featuring him in concert performances. Brown’s body, which was placed in a Promethean casket–which is bronze polished to a golden shine–was driven through the streets of New York to the Apollo Theater in a white, glass-encased horse-drawn carriage. In Augusta, Georgia, the procession for Brown’s public memorial visited Brown’s statue as the procession made its way to the James Brown Arena. During the public memorial at the James Brown Arena, a video showed Brown’s last performance in Augusta, Georgia and the Ray Charles version of “Georgia on My Mind” played soulfully in the background. Brown’s last backup band, The Soul Generals, also played the music of Brown’s hits during the memorial service at the James Brown Arena. The group was joined by Bootsy Collins on bass, with MC Hammer performing a dance in James Brown style. Former Temptations lead singer Ali-Ollie Woodson performed “Walk Around Heaven All Day” at the memorial services.
Last will and testament
James Brown signed his last will and testament on August 1, 2000, before Strom Thurmond, Jr., an attorney for Brown’s estate. The irrevocable trust, separate and apart from Brown’s will, was created on Brown’s behalf in 2000 by his attorney, Albert “Buddy” Dallas, who was named as one of three personal representatives of Brown’s estate. Brown’s will covered the disposition of his personal assets, such as clothing, cars and jewelry, while Brown’s irrevocable trust covered the disposition of music rights, business assets of James Brown Enterprises and Brown’s Beech Island estate in South Carolina.
During the reading of Brown’s will on January 11, 2007, Thurmond revealed that Brown’s six adult living children (Terry Brown, Larry Brown, Daryl Brown, Yamma Brown Lumar, Deanna Brown Thomas and Venisha Brown) were named in the will. Hynie and James II were not mentioned in the will as parties who could inherit Brown’s property. Brown’s will was signed ten months before James II was born and more than a year before Brown’s marriage to Tomi Rae Hynie. Like Brown’s will, his irrevocable trust also did not mention Hynie and James II as recipients of Brown’s property. The irrevocable trust was established before, and had not been amended since, the birth of James II.
On January 24, 2007 Brown’s children filed a lawsuit against the personal representatives of Brown’s estate. In their petition, Brown’s children asked the court to remove the personal representatives of Brown’s estate (including Brown’s attorney and estate’s trustee, Albert “Buddy” Dallas) and appoint a special administrator because of perceived impropriety and alleged mismanagement of Brown’s assets. To challenge the validity of the will and irrevocable trust, Hynie also filed a lawsuit against Brown’s estate on January 31, 2007. In her lawsuit against Brown’s estate, Hynie asked the court to recognize her as Brown’s widow, and she also asked the court to appoint a special administrator for the estate.
On January 27, 2015, Judge Doyet Early III ruled that Tommie Rae Hynie Brown is officially the widow of James Brown. The decision was based on the grounds that Hynie’s previous marriage was invalid and that James Brown abandoned his efforts to annul his own marriage to Hynie. If the ruling stands, Hynie could be entitled to a share of the James Brown estate.
On February 19, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court intervened, halting all lower court actions in the estate and undertaking to review previous actions itself.