April 28, 2007
In an interview you'll see Only on 12, Tomi Rae Hynie Brown shares her plans to continue on with James Brown's spirit of giving.
The annual turkey and toy giveaways are events the CSRA looked forward to every year. Today, Tomi Rae says she hopes to keep them going in the name of her late husband.
For the first time in a long time, Tomi Rae is happy. Her son is by her side, and her late husband still close.
"Now he's like the angel on my shoulder," she says, showing us a new tattoo of James Brown's face.
Her shoulders have had a lot to bear since his death.
"The only way to get through all this horrible stuff is to engross myself in completely positive things," she said. "Doing what's going to make my son proud and proud of his father and proud of what he did."
Mr. Brown did a lot for Augusta. He hosted a turkey giveaway for those in need every Thanksgiving, and every Christmas you'd find him at the imperial theatre for his annual toy giveaway, playing Santa to underprivileged children.
"From the beginning of James Brown's time, he was always doing things to help other people, from Martin Luther King to present day, so it's important we continue to do these things and remind people that people really do care," Tomi Rae said. "And it's the best way to give back what James has given me."
She says she not only plans to keep the tradition going, but she also hopes to expand it.
She's talking with business associates about possibly hosting a turkey giveaway in New Orleans at the same time as Augusta's. She's hoping to simulcast from both places as a way to help the needy and bring back the music.
It's a dream she says she and brown originally shared.
"I think it will be great to bring the music back, and bring the spirit of giving back, and the spirit of love, and something James loved so much to give back to the community that supported him so much," she said.
And while she is not working with his children yet on these plans, Tomi Rae says she wants to, and she's hopeful they will want to work together to carry out his vision.
"It's about bringing a community together...the family together. I think that maybe this is the best way to bring us all back together, by continuing to do the things that James wanted."
Tomi Rae is working with several artists on a tribute album for James Brown. Snoop Dogg, Ollie Woodson from the Temptations, Earth Wind and Fire, and even Fergie will all lend their voices.
No word yet on when it will be released.
If you would like to donate or sponsor any of Mrs. Brown's efforts, you can email her at TomiRaeBrown@aol.com.