“Hellooooooooooo! Welcome to the Club!”
James Brown, the smooth-talking Godfather of Soul, kicked off the 1990s with a monumental tour that roped in dozens of rappers, including Jay Z, LL Cool J, and Missy Elliott. While L.A. Reid, Barry White, and Jimmy Jam were overseeing recording and production, newcomers like Faith Evans and Bootsy Collins took to the road, facing down lions like Kool & the Gang, the Treach Brothers, and even Green Day. The late-60s and 70s era has been the music industry’s Holy Grail since the days of the Beatles and the Stones and, as Billboard reports, the last time an American music icon gained so much exposure and money from outside of his or her home country was George Michael in the 80s.
Flash-forward to 2018, and Brown remains in exalted circumstances even among other icons that filled his troubled but unforgettable filmography of hits: Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin. Now, Brown’s heirs have made a mint trading the rocker’s estate for exclusive print and audio rights to record products, such as Wheaties box art, and merch like prints, books, and apparel. Iconsuite, Brown’s physical label, known for mainstream global releases by stars like Jennifer Lopez, will handle the artist’s brand of such products.
While Forbes “only estimated” that Brown’s total assets currently stand at $500 million, and that the net worth of Brown’s three heirs are the total worth of the family, via Bill Cunningham of Time Out New York, Brown’s adult children are worth an estimated $35 million and wife Tina and their children are in the $30 million range, according to the New York Post.
Approximately 16 years ago, Brown’s children were still fighting over which would get control of their late father’s business; “Only 18 years old, she didn’t realize she was acting like a brat,” the Post reports Brown’s daughter’s former lawyer as saying. She reportedly left at 17. Brown’s children reached a truce about 15 years ago, according to the Post, with nine brothers and sisters that served on the empire’s board eventually walking away. The Post notes that three siblings took the lead role before their inheritance reverted to them.
From 2007-2012, Brown was the subject of the documentary “Get On Up,” and alongside his extended family, the social media behemoth that is “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” joined the 15-time Grammy winner on the road; the show celebrated the 90-year-old’s 90th birthday during the 2014-15 season.
“Son of a bitch,” Brown famously exclaimed back in 1968.