James Brown’s estate’s assets have been sold after 15 years of a court battle with several people, including five of Brown’s children. They were seeking to set Brown’s will aside and gain a significant share of the estate, Bloomberg reports.
The estate was purchased by Primary Wave Music, a company that specializes in marketing estates and song catalogs, according to the New York Times.
The music icon wanted the bulk of his estate to be used to fund scholarships for needy children but the plan was delayed by litigation. The Brown estate and Primary Wave have been working on the new deal for nearly four years.
The price of the transaction was not disclosed but it is believed that it was sold for around $90 million. Bloomberg reports that the deal will include music rights, real estate and control of the singer’s name and likeness.
The money from the transaction will be used to endow the Brown scholarship trust “in perpetuity,” said Russell L. Bauknight, executor of the estate.
Primary Wave will contribute a “small percentage” of some deals to the scholarship trust, a provision of the deal noted. It will be used to support underprivileged children in South Carolina, where Brown was born, and Georgia, where he grew up. Bauknight is hoping that the first disbursement of the scholarship will be awarded by the end of 2023.
The Times reports that one of the litigants was Brown’s former wife Tommie Rae Hynie. Brown married the singer in 2001 and later found out that she was married to another man.
In 2009, a state judge approved of a deal between Hynie and Brown’s five children to give themselves significant shares of the estate but South Carolina’s Supreme Court struck their settlement down four years later, calling it a “dismemberment of Brown’s carefully crafted estate plan,” according to the Times.
Brown, who became known for his flashy outfits and shoes, and his signature hairstyle, had the ability to hold and command a crowd with his voice and moves. He revolutionized 20th-century music and his explosive stage performance left many stunned. He was also committed to excellence in his shows and tours, and could fine band members for missing notes or being late to rehearsal or for failing to improvise when needed.
All in all, Brown didn’t only write and record music, but also toured the world regularly throughout the 1950s and ’60s, performing five or six nights a week. This earned him the title “The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business”, according to Biography.