Being the Godfather of Soul is actually a big business for James Brown — even following his passing in 2006.

As AfroTech reported back in December 2021, the estate of the late, great music pioneer was sold to Primary Wave Music for $90 million. The proceeds from the sale went to the James Brown scholarship trust, which will be funded “in perpetuity” from the sale, according to a statement provided by Russell L. Bauknight, the estate’s executor, at the time of the initial report.

Primary Wave Music has made similar deals with the estates of Prince, Luther Vandross, and Whitney Houston. 

The deal, however, isn’t quite cut and dry. Several people — including five of James Brown’s children — have been contesting the late singer’s will for the past 15 years. What’s more, it’s not clear what effect this sale will have on any pending litigation currently against the estate. In other words, if one or more of the children gain control of the estate, will the monies from Primary Wave be affected?

Legal experts, as of this writing, are unclear on the answer.

And then there’s the issue of the value of the estate itself. Details vary so much — according to The Hollywood Reporter, the estate could be worth as little as $5 million (which is Entertainment Weekly’s estimate), or as much as $100 million — and the true value of the estate may well never be known.

But, regardless of whether it’s worth a little or a lot, James Brown has left an incredible legacy behind with his nine children. Let’s take a look at what they’re up to.

Editorial note: The net worth listed in this piece is a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources.

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