When the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, died on December 25, 2006, he left behind multiple children. Now one of them has also passed away; Venisha Brown died on Wednesday, September 19. She was 53-years-old.
According to a post on the James Brown Family Foundation’s Instagram page, Venisha died at the Augusta University Health Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, of complications related to pneumonia.
“The multitalented songwriter and musician will always be remembered as one of the few who fully embodied the dance moves of her father,” the organization said.
The family appreciates “everyone for their prayers and telephone calls,” but would also like their privacy to be respected.
Venisha was James’ daughter with the late Yvonne Fair, who at one time was a member of the 1950’s girl-group, The Chantels, and was also a solo artist. Actress Tika Sumpter portrayed Fair in the 2014 biopic Get on Up, which starred Chadwick Boseman as the “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” singer.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Venisha grew up in California with her mother, but would often visit her father down south in the summer and on occasional holidays. In 1997, she became a full-time Georgia resident.
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For Immediate Release: September 20, 2018 Daughter of The Late Godfather of Soul James Brown Dies! ATLANTA, GA – Venisha Brown, who is one of the daughters of the late Godfather of Soul James Brown and the late Yvonne Fair (formerly of The Chantels) has died. Venisha Brown was 53 years old. Venisha died at AU Health Medical Center in Augusta, GA on Wednesday evening. The cause of death was due to complications from pneumonia. The multi-talented songwriter and musician will always be remembered as one of the few who fully embodied the dance moves of her father. The family thanks everyone for their prayers and telephone calls. At this time we ask that you respect the privacy of the family. Funeral arrangements will be available in the upcoming days. To pay tribute to Venisha Brown, the family asks in lieu of flowers to make a one-time donation to J.A.M.P (James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils) a cause dear to Venisha’s heart. J.A.M.P. is a musical, instrumental, initiative year-round educational hub designed for the youth to discover their musical ability to “Staying on the Good Foot.” www.jamesbrownfamilyfdn.org for additional information. https://jamesbrownfamilyfdn.org/online/images/Venisha-Browns-Passing_PressRelease_9-20-2018.pdf Contact: Jeremy Cormier Phone: 404-579-0482 Foundation Phone: 803-640-2096 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
However, her life was not idyllic. Family members told the media outlet that she struggled with a crack addiction for much of her adult life and had several run-ins with the law, including a 2012 arrest after she stole her boss’s vehicle.
“There were plenty of arrests,” said one of her half-sisters, Deanna Brown Thomas. “Not just one or two. I would help my sister in California. I would go into jail and visit her. I would be there and do whatever I possibly could. It got to the point where there was only so much I could do.”
“My dad was her support structure for a lot of years,” added another half-sister, Yamma Brown.
“She was just a little bitty thing. When she passed away, she had lost so much weight, but you would have thought she was a gorilla the way she was fighting.”
In addition to talking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Yamma also paid tribute to her “beautiful big sis” on Instagram.
“Venisha has received her angels’ wings,” she wrote along with a photo of the two half-siblings together. “My heart is broken, but I am comforted by the peace you now have!!! I love you sis.”
In lieu of flowers, Venisha’s family is asking those that want to pay tribute to her to make donations to a cause dear to her heart, J.A.M.P., the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils. The nonprofit organization is intended is to “motivate, educate, and inspire children through the universal language of music and enrich their hidden musical abilities.”
Information about Venisha’s funeral has yet to be announced.