James Brown

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James Brown : biography

May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006

Brown had numerous children and acknowledged nine of them including five sons – Teddy (1954-1973), Terry, Larry, Daryl and James Joseph Brown II and four daughters – Lisa, Dr. Yamma Noyola Brown Lumar, Deanna Brown Thomas and Venisha Brown. Brown also had eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Brown’s eldest son, Teddy, died in a car crash on June 14, 1973.Stritof, S. & Stritof, B. (2006). About.com: Marriage. Retrieved January 8, 2007. According to an August 22, 2007 article published in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, DNA tests indicate that Brown also fathered at least three extramarital children. The only one of them who has been identified is LaRhonda Pettit (born 1962), a retired air stewardess and teacher who lives in Houston.Elsworth, C. (August 22, 2007) . The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved July 5, 2009. During contesting of Brown’s will, another of the Brown family attorneys, Debra Opri revealed to Larry King that Brown wanted a DNA test performed after his death to confirm the paternity of James Brown II — not for Brown’s sake but for the sake of the other family members. In April 2007, Hynie selected a guardian ad litem whom she wants appointed by the court to represent her son, James Brown II, in the paternity proceedings.

Drug abuse

For the majority of his career, Brown carried around a strict drug and alcohol-free policy with any member in his entourage, including band members, firing people who disobeyed orders, particularly those who used or abused drugs and alcohol. Some members of Brown’s vocal group the Famous Flames were fired due to alcohol use. Noting of the policy, some of the original members of Brown’s 1970s band, The J.B.’s including Catfish and Bootsy Collins, intentionally got high on LSD during a concert gig in 1971, causing Brown to fire them after the show because he had suspected them to be on drugs all along.Unsung: Bootsy Collins, TV One, 2011

However, by the mid-1980s, it was alleged that Brown himself was using drugs. After meeting and later marrying Adrienne Rodriguez, she and Brown began using PCP or "angel dust". The drug resulted in domestically violent outbursts from Brown and he was arrested several times for domestic violence against Rodriguez while high on the drug. After a May 1988 arrest from allegedly hitting his wife with a lead pipe and shooting at her in their car during an argument, Brown went on TV with a local Los Angeles reporter via satellite from Atlanta and appeared to be behaving erratically in response to some of the interviewer’s questions, refusing to discuss the domestic issue with Rodriguez, instead wanting to bring more focus on his professional life. At one point during the interview, Brown began shouting out his song titles to one of the reporter’s questions. The interview later went viral and led some to assume that Brown was either drunk or doped up.

One of Brown’s former mistresses recalled in an GQ magazine article on Brown some years after his death that Brown would smoke PCP "until that got hard to find", and cocaine, mixed with tobacco in Kools cigarettes. In January 1998, he spent a week in rehab to deal with an addiction to prescription painkillers; a week following his release, he was arrested for an unlawful use of a handgun and possession of marijuana.

Legal troubles

Brown’s personal life was marred by several brushes with the law. At the age of 16, he was convicted of armed robbery and served three years in juvenile prison. On July 16, 1978, after performing at the Apollo, Brown was arrested for reportedly failing to turn in records from one of his radio stations after the station was forced to file for bankruptcy. In 1988, Brown was arrested twice, first for drugs and weapons charges in May, and later in September of that year following an alleged high-speed car chase on Interstate 20 near the Georgia-South Carolina state border. He was convicted of carrying an unlicensed pistol and assaulting a police officer, along with various drug-related and driving offenses. Although he was sentenced to six years in prison, he was eventually released in 1991 after serving only three years of his sentence. Brown’s FBI file, released to The Washington Post in 2007 under the Freedom of Information Act, (1989). Criminal Investigative Division, Civil Rights Unit. U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved June 3, 2007 (Abobe Acrobat Reader required for viewing). related Brown’s claim that the high-speed chase did not occur as claimed by the police, and that local police shot at his car several times during an incident of police harassment and assaulted him after his arrest.Stephens, J. (April 3, 2007). The Washington Post. Retrieved June 4, 2007. Local authorities found no merit to Brown’s accusations.