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James Brown sues Kenneth Cole

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James Brown, a man known for his flamboyant bodysuits, recently filed a suit of a different color with a federal court in South Carolina. His $5 million complaint charges shoemaker Kenneth Cole with improper use of Brown’s image. The filing claims that a 1989 Cole ad, which juxtaposed a portrait of the singer with a picture of Cole’s ”Keyhole” shoes above the caption ”Two great things with soul under lock and key,” portrayed Brown, then serving a 16-month prison term for aggravated assault and refusing to stop for South Carolina police as, well, a heel. The suit alleges that Cole ”wrongfully appropriated Mr. Brown’s name, likeness and identity…(resulting) in injury to Mr. Brown.” A statement from Kenneth Cole Productions counters that the 37-year-old, New York-based godfather of sole ”is and always has been a great fan of Mr. Brown.” Five million dollars will buy a lot of jumpsuits and alligator cowboy boots, Brown’s fashion signatures, but a lawyer for the singer insists, ”It’s a reasonable amount.”

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