James Brown Public Viewing To Be Held At Apollo Theater, Partner Battles Over Home
Brown died early Christmas morning in Atlanta of congestive heart failure. The 73-year-old Godfather of Soul, who’s musical influence is felt in R&B, hip-hop, funk and disco, was slated to perform on New Year's Eve in Manhattan at B.B. King's blues club.
News of Brown’s death is still being felt as mourners paid their respects to the Grammy-winning singer Tuesday (Dec. 26) in his hometown of Augusta, Ga.
The Apollo viewing holds a special meaning in the career of Brown, who made his debut at the famed venue.
"His greatest thrill was always the lines around the Apollo Theater, " said the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of Brown’s closest friends, in an interview from Georgia. "I felt that James Brown in all the years we talked would have wanted one last opportunity to let the people say goodbye to him and he to the people."
Sharpton, who is currently making funeral arrangements with Brown’s children, revealed that a private ceremony in Augusta will be held on Friday (Dec. 29) after the Apollo viewing.
He will also preside over another public ceremony on Saturday (Dec. 30) at the 8,500 seat James Brown Arena.
As plans move forward to lay Brown to rest, his partner, Tomi Rae Hynie, has become entangled in a legal battle with the singer’s attorney. According to reports, the 36-year-old back up singer was denied entry into Brown’s Beech Island, SC home on Monday (Dec. 25) after finding the gates padlocked.
Brown’s lawyer, Buddy Dallas, cited estate legal reasons as the motivation behind the lock out as well as the fact that Hynie and Brown were not legally married.
"It's not a reflection on her as an individual," Dallas told The Associated Press. "I have not even been in the house, nor will I until appropriate protocol is followed."
Dallas stated that Hynie being married to another man in 2001 when she married Brown. As a result, this made her marriage to Brown null, said Dallas, who added that although Hynie later annulled the previous marriage, she and Brown never remarried.
Despite Dallas’ claims, Hynie told the AP Tuesday that she had documentation to prove her marriage to Brown was legal and that she has a legal right to live in the home with her and Brown’s five-year-old son.
"This is my home," Hynie told a reporter outside the home. "I don't have any money. I don't have anywhere to go."
Dallas, who said that Brown and Hynie had not seen each other for several weeks before his death, maintained that legal formalities need to be followed and that Brown’s estate was left in trust for his children.
"It's not intended and I hope not interpreted to be an act of unkindness or an act of a lack of sympathy," said Dallas, who did not elaborate on Brown’s final instructions. "Ms. Hynie has a home a few blocks away from Mr. Brown's home where she resides periodically when she is not with Mr. Brown. She is not without housing or home."