EXCLUSIVE: Maureen Yancey Relaunches J. Dilla Foundation, Confirms 2010 Projects

(AllHipHop News) Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, mother of the late J Dilla (James Yancey), has verified the re-establishment of the non-profit J Dilla Foundation, new legal management for her son’s estate, and several album projects for 2010.

The organization had become defunct due to legal entanglement over the state laws for Dilla’s estate, and friction between the Yancey family and previous estate executor Arty Erk.

With a completely new team that includes Joylette Hunter (fiancée to Dilla and mother of his youngest daughter Ja’Mya Sherran Yancey) as Vice-Chair, Ms. Yancey explained how the changes will mark a fresh beginning for Dilla’s legacy.

“We changed formats and have a whole new group of people. We're one big team to correct all the problems with Dilla's estate, because he did have a will,” Yancey told AllHipHop.com. “The foundation was in my heart of hearts to do. Now with a team of people from all over the country, they're just so good professionally and in love with what they do, it makes it so easy. It's been wonderful. Everything is being done together.”

James Yancey’s Estate new executor is Alex Borden (Borden Law Office), a well-known probate attorney based on Los Angeles.

Maureen Yancey spent the last year working with him on transitioning the estate duties. In addition, she is pleased that Borden joined her cause to prevent what they perceived as violations against Dilla’s final wishes.

“I met with Alex about a year ago. It was a job getting him, he's so renowned in the probate world,” she explained. “He has mega respect in the court system in LA. The previous attorneys looking at the case were compelled by the injustice going on. Human nature lets you know when something is not right. That's how this came to be with Alex.”

The J Dilla Foundation will offer annual scholarships to inner-city students who show promise and talent for music. This year, the program launches in Detroit, Atlanta, and Los Angeles with the goal of raising over $10,000.

“That is going to be as early as this summer,” Yancey confirmed. “We're starting right away planning for activities with the participating artists. It’s just deciding who is going to be first. The scholarship part won’t be until the fall of each year…One of the things Dilla wanted me to do with his legacy was to use it to help others, people with illness, and kids who were musically gifted but had little hope due to poverty.”

Last year, fans were treated to the well-received posthumous LP Jay Stay Paid. Ms. Yancey confirmed 3 big-name projects this year, although release dates are still being finalized.

“This year I can’t tell you who is going to come first,” she said. “Raekwon is doing music for Dilla. Erykah [Badu] has something on the horizon, along with Busta [Rhymes], who has something new. There are others, but they have to go through the channels. There’s multiple things going on with Dilla and the estate for 2010.”

Like many artists who pass away in prematurely, Dilla’s music has received more attention and praise in the years following his death. However, his mother believes he would be honored by the respect his peers and fans have for his talent.

“He’d be proud. Dilla just didn’t like the camera, but he was terribly interested in everything. He was just camera shy. Other then doing his compositions he had to really get caught up in his music to perform. He was transformed when he came on stage. That’s why I got a kick out of it.”

More information on the J Dilla Foundation can be found at http://www.jdillafoundation.org.

Those interested in licensing J Dilla’s music, likeness or creative input must contact the Estate at www.j-dilla.com.