James Brown’s Daughters on Their Father’s Complicated Legacy

James Brown mesmerized fans with his soulful vocals for more than five decades. But that powerful voice could also incite fear in his family at home. “His voice was a little scary to listen to sometimes, because there were times when I heard him scream,” recalls Brown’s pharmacist daughter Yamma Brown, 51, who—along with her radio and TV personality sister Deanna Brown Thomas, 55—often witnessed her father hit their mother, Deidre Jenkins, when she was young.

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