After a Long Delay, James Brown’s Estate Sells for $90 Million

It's taken 15 years, but Brown's plan for scholarships is closer to being realized

James Brown performing
James Brown's wish for his estate to fund scholarships for children is closer to being realized.
Steve Schapiro/Corbis via Getty Images

It’s now been 15 years since the death of legendary singer James Brown. In the years since, we’ve seen the release of a high-profile biopic of the musician, as well as a 2019 CNN investigation that raised disquieting questions about Brown’s final years.

But while certain aspects of Brown’s life remain ambiguous, one longstanding aspect of it has now achieved some closure. That’s the matter of his estate, which Brown intended to be sold to benefit needy children in two states.

Fifteen years later, Brown’s estate has indeed sold — and to a company with a history of purchasing some or all of the estates of prominent musicians. That would be Primary Wave Music, the company that acquired the largest interest in Prince’s estate earlier this year.

An article by Ben Sisario and Steve Knopper at The New York Times has more details on the deal. The story notes that Primary Wave purchased “music rights, real estate and the control over Brown’s name and likeness,” which might lead to the creation of a James Brown musical and a museum dedicated to his career in the years to come.

As for when eligible children in need in Georgia and South Carolina might expect to receive scholarships, that still remains to be seen. The Times article notes that two cases involving Brown’s estate are still being appealed and need to be resolved before money can begin to be dispensed. But the deal with Primary Wave does seem to bring Brown’s intentions for his estate closer than ever before to being realized.

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