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Meet His 9 Children – Hollywood Life

Meet His 9 Children – Hollywood Life

James Brown

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Image Credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Godfather of Soul James Brown was an iconic bandleader, singer, dancer, record producer, musician, and father who died on Christmas day in 2006 at the age of 73. He left behind an impressive legacy in music during his decades long career, including 17 singles that reached number 1 on the Billboard R&B charts. The South Carolina native was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York in 1986, and he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards in 1992. In January of 1997, he was awarded with a star on the fabled Hollywood Walk of Fame, solidifying his influence as one of the greatest musicians of all time.

His life and work are set to be explored in the two-part documentary James Brown: Say It Loud, which premieres February 19 and February 20 on A&E. “James Brown basically revolutionized music because he’s one of the few band leaders who made his entire band into percussion, you know? It wasn’t a sprawling arrangement, i.e., Duke Ellington, or, you know, melody wasn’t the at the forefront. Rhyme was at the forefront,” executive producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson told Entertainment Tonight in February of 2024.  “And, you know, he basically invented the soul, and he also invented what we now call the viral moment.”

But music wasn’t James’ only true love — he also fathered a known nine children across several relationships, making him one of the music industry’s most prolific fathers. He was married three times and acknowledged nine of his children, though it’s been speculated through the decades that he has more.

Ahead of the documentary’s debut, here’s what we know about James Brown’s nine acknowledged children.

Teddy Brown

Teddy Brown was James’ first son with his first wife, Velma Warren, whom he married in 1953 and stayed with for sixteen years. According to Billboard, Teddy died in a fatal car accident in 1973.

Terry Brown

Terry Brown was James’ second son with Velma. Little is publicly known about Terry, though the Associated Press reported after James’ death that Terry was named in his father’s will, which six of his children contested.

Larry Brown

Larry Brown is the third son that the musician and his first wife welcomed. Larry lives a private life, and little is known about him.

Lisa Brown

Details on Lisa Brown are sparse — though the New York Times’ blog The Lede seems to have unraveled a clue about James’ first daughter in divorce documents. “There’s a child mentioned in the handwritten divorce settlement between James Brown and Velma Warren Brown that seems not to have been part of James Brown’s public history,” the 2007 report reads. “Her name is Lisa Brown, and she was five when the couple divorced in 1969.”

Venisha Brown

Venisha was the daughter of soul singer Yvonne Fair and James. She died of complications from pneumonia at Augusta University Health Medical Center in Georgia at the age of 53 on September 19, 2018. The James Brown Foundation wrote at the time that Venisha “will always be remembered as one of the few who fully embodied the dance moves of her father,” per PEOPLE.

Dr. Yamma Noyola Brown Lumar

According to Atlanta Magazine, James’ daughter holds a doctorate degree from the Mercer University School of Pharmacy. She also wrote a memoir ominously titled Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me in 2014 — a stark look at life with her famous dad, in which she shared raw details from her childhood with the volatile musician.

“As much as I loved my father, and I sure loved him, I hated him during those times,” she wrote of growing up in an abusive household, along with a sister and James’ second wife,  Deirdre “DeeDee” Jenkins. “And I didn’t like my mother much either. If she couldn’t stand up for herself, how would she protect me?”

Deanna Brown Thomas

Dr. Deanna Brown Thomas is the second daughter born to James and DeeDee. She heads up the James Brown Family Foundation, and uses her social media account to keep her father’s memory alive. “At 1:45am December 25, 2006, the world lost a superstar, legend, icon, Godfather… I lost Daddy. Thank you to all for the love and respect coming. The dash – was full of Funk on the One. Your music is STILL touching souls EVERYWHERE. Always have, Always will,” she wrote via Twitter (X) on December 25, 2022.

These days, she’s busy promoting the upcoming release of James Brown: Say It Loud. “It was a night to remember! Gather the family to watch this historical documentary on my father,” she added to a re-tweet of an A&E video recap of a screening.

Daryl Brown

Daryl Brown has publicly spoken out about his father, who never married his mother, in a 2014 memoir called My Father the Godfather. “I wanted to show him as a man, not just as the dancer, not just as one of the greatest entertainers in the world,” Daryl said in 2014. “I didn’t want to do that… I didn’t want to put him on a pedestal. I wanted to show that anybody could do what he did.”

Daryl is a musician as well and was raised in New Brunswick by his mother, musician Beatrice “Bea” Ford, whom James never married. Daryl plays drums and guitar.

James Joseph Brown II

James Joseph Brown II has taken after his father and is a musician. The son of James and his partner, singer Tomi Rae Hynie, is the James’ youngest son, and he was born in June of 2001. “James thought his son might be president one day,” Tomi Rae once said, per Wikipedia.

James sometimes uses his Instagram account to showcase the musical talents he inherited from his parents.

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