Augusta, Georgia native, Dr. Yamma Brown is the youngest daught od Deidre Jenkins and James Brown, who you may know as the Godfather of Soul. Beyond that, she has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. She is a woman of many hates who not only continues to build onto his legacy but build an empire of her own. We sat down for an exclusive interview with Dr. Yamma Brown who opens up to us about the many projects in her life and turning her book, Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me into a screenplay.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Yamma Brown, I am the CEO of Daughter of Soul productions, Vice President of the James Brown Family Foundation as well as co-host of Soul Sisters on Dash Radio, the Pure Soul Station. I do that alongside Heather Hayes, Isaac Haye’s daughter. I am a wife, a mother of two, and I have my doctorate in pharmacy. I’ve been practicing pharmacy now for about 21 years. I’m also an author! I wrote a book called, Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me back in 2014. Lastly, I co-produced my dad’s film, Get on Up!
Tell us about She Persisted.
She Persisted was a brainchild of mine and Dr. Shana Lewis. It was an event we created to make sure that we could give back in the sense of bringing awareness to the abuse that is going on in the community, specifically it was dedicated to teens. February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness month and unfortunately, as a product of domestic violence myself, I know all too well how abuse can continue from generation to generation. My thought behind She Persisted was the need to do something that will stop it early or at least bring awareness early. Although teen-dating violence is abuse and it is domestic violence, its handled a little bit differently because we talk about it more in the dating scenario and around that. It was new in the sense that I was talking to teens about violence. I found that it was so rewarding and fulfilling because I realized how much it was needed and how helpful it was to teens.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, why is the month so special to you?
It needs to aware all year around and not just February, definitely. It happens all the time. It means a lot to me because like I stated before, I was a product of domestic violence. When I say product, I mean that I saw it growing up and was in a domestic violence situation myself in my first marriage. To me, it’s important because I feel like if we can speak to teens when they begin dating and show them what healthy relationships look like, let them know how they can get help if they do feel like they are in an abusive relationship, or if they even see an abusive relationship. I think the responsibility is not only on the parents but people in the community to help other parents and children just so they know they are not alone and there is always help they can get somewhere.
Tell us about your most recent event this past weekend with Dr. Shana D. Lewis.
The event was with Dr. Shana D. Lewis. She was our professional speaker. She brought a lot of information to the table so that people could understand what it means in the space for teens. We had a brunch from 12PM to 3PM, we served food, played games so the teens could get to know each other, and we had a panel We had Dr. Shana that spoke, we had two survivors of teen dating violence and abuse, and advocates of Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCAD) and also Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV). These two organizations were chosen to be apart of the event because I’ve worked with both of them and also because I know specifically with PADV, they have a teen summit event that they do every year that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of. It was actually at one of those events where I realized that this needs to happen more often. We had a Q&A after the panel for people to ask questions and find out more information. We just wanted to bring facts to teen girls and to give them a safe place to ask questions and gain more knowledge.
With all your success, what is there left that you want to accomplish in life?
So much (Laughs)! Well, I’m currently working on a few things but one project that is the dearest to me is writing a screenplay for my book, Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me. I’m writing alongside another writer. I really want to bring this to the screen whether big or small. I would love to have more conversation about domestic violence regarding what it does to you and show people how they can come out and not feel ashamed of where they are in that space. I want to simply shed the light because there are so many people going through it but don’t realize it from an emotional standpoint because they tend to focus on the physical. I just want to bring more knowledge to it so that if people are having issues, they can get help. For me, I want to continue with my screenplay but hopefully in the future be able to work on more projects and expand my writing!
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