*It’s been 7-years since the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, passed away, but his estate is still unsettled.
The South Carolina Supreme Court has been going back and forth with the estate and family about who gets what. A 2009 settlement was to give nearly half to a charitable trust, a quarter to his
widow, Tomi Rae Hynie, and the rest to be split among his adult children; but this was recently overturned on account of others who believe the deal was not in favor of the late singer’s requests.
From the beginning, the arrangements had been unclear and controversial. The estate’s worth alone had been a point of confusion, where it was estimated to be valued at $5 million to more than $100 million.
Along with the family’s division on how to divvy up the money and honor Brown’s will, the estate’s fate has been on hold for years. To make matters worse, debate about what to do with his body also became an issue among family members, who for more than two months left his body in a gold casket inside a cold storage until he was finally buried in Beech Island, S.C., at the home of one of his daughters.
Though still somewhat confusing, it seems a ruling has been made to adhere more closely the Brown’s original wishes. A staunch advocate for education, it appears the bulk of his fortune will go to educating needy children.
*Whitney Houston’s memory still lives on a year later.
The Grammy committee has decided to celebrate the life and legacy of the beloved diva, who unexpectedly passed away last year in a hotel in Beverly Hills.
The event will include an hour-long special called “The Grammys Will Go On: A Death in the Family,” and will air Thursday Feb. 9, the day before the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Whitney was found dead in her hotel the night before the Grammys, drastically changing the celebration to a memorial and time to grieve. Jennifer Hudson performed a medley of Houston’s greatest hits and several celebrities spoke in her honor.
*Wendy Williams acted as a guide and maybe even a therapist on her show recently with guest Faith Evans.
The pair took a gripping trip down memory lane when the talk show diva herself asked about the time when Faith caught her late husband B.I.G. in bed with Lil Kim.
“My faithfuls in here that got my book know that I describe it in very great detail,” she said. “Lets just say that I spent the rest of the day there cooking Christmas dinner because I knew it would be the last time I would spend a time like that with him.”
The singer recently published a memoir about her life, love, journey and career, recounting some of the most memorable phases in her life and in history.
As far as their relationship today, Faith says she’s got no beef. However, Kim seems to be holding onto the past.
When faith attempted to connect with the rapper at a Diddy all white party, Kim acted as if she didn’t know her.
“I ran over to her to get her attention and I was like ‘congratulations on everything and God bless you’ and she looked at me and said ‘who is that’,” Faith giggled.
In the meantime, she’s still quite adamant about searching for her husband’s killer.
It was reported that rapper Chief Keef’s step brother was shot in the back of the head and killed in Chicago last week.
NBC Chicago says, Ulysses Gissendanner III, 19, was gunned down last Wednesday near 124th Street and South Union Avenue, DNAinfo reports. Gissendanner reportedly had been visiting his uncle in the West Pullman neighborhood when he was shot in a car.
This event comes shortly after controversy arose regarding the rapper’s alleged involvement in the shooting death of 18-year-old rival, Joseph ‘Lil JoJo’ Coleman.
The family, however, is not sure if the murders are linked.
*Marva Whitney, a fiery voiced funk singer who toured and collaborated with James Brown — along the way earning the nickname “Soul Sister #1″ — died on Saturday at age 68, according to a Facebook page dedicated to her.
“She left us with a legacy that will shine forever,” the message reads.
A cause of death is not immediately known, however it is being reported that Whitney died from complications of pneumonia.
Whitney is best known for her version of “It’s My Thing,” which cracked the Hot 100 in 1969, and for the widely sampled track “Unwind Yourself,” which can be heard on songs by The 45 Kings, DJ Kool and Mac Miller, among others. [Listen to both below.]
Born Marva Ann Manning, the singer began her career singing gospel music in Kansas City but found fame when she reluctantly joined the James Brown Revue in 1967 after turning down singing jobs with Bobby Bland and Little Richard.
“There was nothing here in Kansas City, so I had to make a decision at that age,” she said in a 2006 interview on We Funk Radio. “I knew this wasn’t what I wanted, because I was still playing for the church. But I made the decision and went to Cincinnati and signed with King Records.”
On tour with the Revue, Whitney performed in Vietnam, Europe and North Africa over the next couple of years. Along the way, Whitney cut several “raw funk” songs under Brown’s direction, including “Unwind Yourself” and “I’m Tired, I’m Tired, I’m Tired,” though none broke through with audiences until “It’s My Thing,” her take on the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing.” The song was a hit on the R&B charts.
During her tenure in the Revue, Whitney was dubbed “Soul Sister #1″ to Brown’s “Soul Brother #1″ title. Other “Original Funky Divas” in Brown’s group over the years included Vicki Anderson, who Whitney replaced, and Lyn Collins, who died in 2005.
“I used to be embarrassed being called Soul Sister #1″ she said, noting that it took many years to accept that the title “did not mean that I was stepping on Aretha Franklin’s toes… because I always counted her as Soul Sister # 1.”
She left Brown’s Revue in 1969 and headed back to Kansas City. Her recording career continued, though as before, radio and sales of singles like “Daddy Don’t Know About Sugar Bear” and “Giving Up on Love” were disappointing. A break from the music business followed and by the late 1980s Whitney returned to performing sporadically with fellow James Brown Revue alumni, in a group called the JB Allstars.
In 2009, Whitney suffered a stroke on stage during a show in Australia, but recovered and performed again 2010.
Below, The JB All Stars featuring Martha High, Marva Whitney and Vicki Anderson perform “Think” on Ohne Filter in 1989.
*Brandy Norwood was a huge fan of Whitney Houston and one year after her death, the singer is still in shock.
Looking back on how the late Whitney’s life transformed before the world’s eyes, Brandy supposes it was the loss of her voice that eventually drove Whitney over the edge.
“I understand what that [losing your voice] feels like,” Brandy told The Boom Box. “I don’t understand to that degree, but I understand, you know, because I feel like when I don’t have my instrument, I don’t really have me … It’s almost who you are. Of course, there’s more to you than your voice, but that’s what you use to share. That’s what you use to give. It’s your purpose. It’s what you were born to do … it probably drove her insane [when it faltered]. It probably drove her insane.”
For a woman in mourning, perhaps suggesting her most admired singer went insane wasn’t the best choice of words.
Despite all of that, Brandy opened up and explained that she regrets not reestablishing a connection with Whitney over the years, adding that her passing was particularly difficult to deal with.
Brandy honored the late singer by naming her latest album “Two Eleven” which represents Brandy’s birthday and Whitney’s passing.