James Brown’s Daughter Share How They Forgave Him For Domestic Abuse Growing Up

James Brown’s daughters, Deanna Brown Thomas and Yamma Brown, have recently shed light on their complex relationship with their father. In a conversation with PEOPLE They delving into their journey towards forgiveness despite witnessing his violent behavior towards their mother, Deidre Jenkins, during their childhood.

Yamma reflected on the emotional turmoil she experienced witnessing her father’s actions.

“When you see a family member being hurt, you’re not feeling the best about the person that’s hurting them,” she said.

Recounting a pivotal moment at just six years old when she intervened to protect her mother, she emphasized the lasting impact of domestic violence on individuals and families, acknowledging the humanity and flaws within her father.

“It shows that he was human because he was flawed, but it also is a time to show grace,” she expressed.

Similarly, Deanna revealed her own struggle with reconciling her father’s actions, acknowledging the potential for lasting emotional damage.

“There was a time when I didn’t like my father. I didn’t like him because of this type of behavior,” she shared, highlighting the distinction between their father’s treatment of them and his behavior in his marital relationship.

The daughters’ revelations shed light on James Brown’s troubled personal life, marked by multiple marriages and accusations of domestic violence. Despite his fame as the “Godfather of Soul,” Brown’s legacy is marred by allegations of abuse, including incidents involving Tammi Terrell in the 1960s and Adrienne Lois Rodriguez in the 1980s.

In a notable interview with CNN in 1988, Brown vehemently denied all allegations, deflecting questions and singing instead of addressing the accusations directly. However, Yamma noted that her father did apologize to her mother, offering a glimpse of compassion amidst the tumultuous circumstances.

The complex legacy of James Brown is further explored in the documentary film James Brown: Say It Loud, directed by Deborah Riley-Draper and featuring never-before-seen archival interviews and performances. Executive produced by industry luminaries such as Mick Jagger and Questlove, the film provides insight into Brown’s life and impact, as well as the enduring questions surrounding his personal conduct.

Through their candid reflections, Deanna and Yamma Brown navigate the complexities of familial relationships, resilience, and forgiveness, offering a nuanced perspective on the enduring influence of a music icon.