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Flavor Flav ‘devastated’ at Jim Brown’s death

Updated May 20, 2023 - 4:31 pm

Flavor Flav is not known to be somber, and is rarely at a loss for words. But the hip-hop icon spoke movingly of losing the man he knew as his “mentor,” Jim Brown, Thursday afternoon.

“I’m really devastated right now, so I am a little lost to find the right words,” Flav said by phone a couple of hours after learning Brown had died at age 87 at his home in Los Angeles. “It really, really hurts. He was a very big part of my life. He was my mentor.”

Flav said the NFL Brown befriended Flav in 1987, just two years after Flav and Chuck D. co-founded Public Enemy. It was the year of the act’s debut album, “Yo! Bum Rush The Show,” and a year before the breakout release, “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.” The album went double-platinum album.

In 1989, Public Enemy issued the single “Fight The Power,” propelling them to higher fame and acclaim. Flav turned 30 that year.

Flav said Brown had taken an interest in his life and career when he was a young artist. He was asked how the two met, who introduced them.

“You know, that that memory is very faint, and the reason why it’s very faint is because it never really mattered to me,” said Flav, whose legal name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr. “The only thing that matters is, I got to know him. We became great friends.”

Public Enemy would rise to international fame, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a decade ago.

Flav last saw Brown in February. He talked of Brown during a chat after the Grammys Awards show that month. He attended a Super Bowl party hosted by Brown in Phoenix on Feb. 12, and saw him again two weeks later at Brown’s home in L.A.

“He was very fatherly to me. We talked about how we didn’t see each other enough,” Flav said. “There were many times many times he mentored me. What Jim Brown always wanted for me was just to keep my head right. Be successful, but stay out of trouble. We have lost a guiding hand.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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