Shortly after her father's death, Yamma Brown narrowly escaped being killed by her husband over her father's estate. Yamma had to cut her ex-husband in defense to avoid being killed in the quarrel over James Brown's fortune.
Darren, Yamma's ex-husband desperately wanted control of his ex-wife's' father's estate shortly after the man died.
James was a singer, songwriter, and dancer among other things. He died of congestive heart failure complicated by pneumonia on Christmas day 2006 at the age of 73.
Also known as the "Godfather of Soul," Brown's estate is worth several millions of dollars thanks to a successful career that spanned over five decades. The amount of money, of course, became the center of a series of unfortunate events for his family.
Darren believed he could manage his father-in-law's fortune much better than anyone in his wife's family.
In her memoir "Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me," which she co-wrote with Robin Gaby Fisher, Yamma said of Darren:
“Darren filled his head with other ideas. Ideas about how Darren could turn Dad's considerable wealth into so much that everyone in the family would benefit from if only we would turn over the reins to him. That's all he'd talked about since Dad died. The estate. He wanted to manage it for the family. He could turn Dad's millions into billions with the right investments.”
He wanted Yamma to get her family to agree to the deal.
Yamma revealed in the book that her sister Deanna was quite leery of the part of the deal which put Darren in charge of the estate. But when Yamma informed her ex-husband about Deanna's stand, Darren got upset, and she paid the price.
“She knew his history. He had blown his share of business deals, and our new house was on the way to foreclosure, for God's sake. Why would she put her future in his hands?”
Darren tried to badger Yamma into persuading Deanna to agree to the deal. Yamma explained in her memoir that she cut him short "in the middle of his rant" and told him that she was not going to persuade her sister.
And that was it for Darren. He got mad at his ex-wife and was stunned that she was talking back at him.
“Darren lurched at me, cursing and spewing his rage with such force that his spit sprayed my face. "Who do you think you are?" he shouted. "You stupid [expletive]. You and your family don't know what you're doing. You're going to [expletive] up everything.”
“I wiped his saliva from my cheeks and turned to walk away. "Do you hear me?" he yelled, his voice seething with scorn. "You have no idea how to run this, and neither does anyone else in your family. What the hell do you know about anything?" God, I hated him. "Don't you walk away from me!”
She retorted, angry too:
“You're crazy! You need help!”
It was on her way to the kitchen that she saw a knife on the counter, grabbed it and started swinging. Darren charged at her, and after seconds of struggles, Yamma stuck the knife in his forearm.
Things got uglier for Yamma.
“I tried to run away, but he grabbed me from behind, spun me around, and drove his fist into my face. I went down, and my head smacked the tile floor. Warm blood seeped from a gash in my scalp. I imagined gooey yoke oozing from a cracked egg.
Had he lost his mind?
“‘You cut me!"he screamed. "You [expletive] up. You're going to jail and I'm going to get the kids. Now get your sorry [expletive] up.”
It was at this point, Yamma revealed, that she knew her marriage was over.
“Maybe Darren had finally beaten the pretense out of me. My marriage had survived for ten years on false hope and make-believe. I was an abused woman and I wasn't going to take it anymore. Any feelings I still had for Darren were finally dead. Now if only God would let me live. That's when the room went black.”
Yamma was defending her father's fortune but Darren wanted to be in charge so much that he destroyed his marriage.
Darren was mysteriously murdered a year later outside his apartment. Yamma later revealed that as a young girl, she saw her father abuse her mom several times.