Brown's daughter focuses on legacy

In sharp contrast to Tomi Rae Brown's tearful diatribe Wednesday, Deanna Brown Thomas went on Larry King Live on Thursday to speak briefly about the legacy of her father - the man the world knew as the Godfather of Soul.

 

"I don't have any comment to that," she said when asked by Mr. King to respond to Mrs. Brown's allegations that she has been shut out by the family since James Brown's death on Christmas Day.

"I am here to talk about the greatness of James Brown - the man who he was, the father who he was. He will be remembered as the great man who he was."

Mrs. Thomas said her father's death has been hard to deal with.

"It has not been easy. It has been a whirlwind of emotions. I cry every day."

When Mr. King pushed Mrs. Thomas to comment on Mrs. Brown's comments, saying that her silence would add more truth to the controversy, the Rev. Al Sharpton came to her defense.

The Rev. Sharpton said Mrs. Brown was not shut out. He said Mrs. Brown spoke at the service at the Apollo Theatre on Dec. 28 and then sang at the public funeral at the James Brown Arena.

"I don't know what shut out means. I think that what she got concerned about was when she demanded I say she was the wife. I can't get in that dispute. Mr. Brown annulled the wedding. ... These things have to be sorted out in a court. ... Certainly not on the pulpit at his funeral."

Further, the Rev. Sharpton said he was not hired to perform the funeral service, as Mrs. Brown alleged. He said he was a longtime friend who was following Mr. Brown's wishes.

"Isn't it sad that it's come to this?" Mr. King asked Mrs. Thomas.

"My dad was a very private man. I did not discuss his personal relationship and he did not discuss his personal relationship with me, so whatever went down between my dad and Tomi Rae is between my dad and Tomi Rae."

Mrs. Thomas also described her father as a man who had high expectations of his children.

"He was a very strict father," she said. "He wrote it in a song, Papa Don't Take No Mess. Education was very important to him. He had strong work ethics that he taught us all.

"He was the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, and he was that all the way up until the day he died."

Reach Amy Allyn Swann (706) 823-3338 or amy.swann@augustachronicle.com.

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