This is a special, special dedication. RIP to my home girl Jayné's pops.
Death has been a constant part of my life dating back to 1981, when a botched birth resulted in the death of my baby sister. Her name was going to be Tamika. Tamika Latoya Thompson. I won't get into the specifics of what happened. I'll just say that when my mother went into labor, both she and baby were healthy. Three years later I lost my great grandmother Beatrice James, whom I'd spent extensive time with as a little one. I adored that lady. I was too young to fully understand what death was, so when my mom broke the news to me I didn't react at all. But days later, the day of the funeral, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I'll never forget. My mom and I had just walked into Caldor's and I was asking her questions like when my nana was coming back. When I finally realized she was never to return, I immediately broke down, literally. If I try hard enough, I can still see the store, me on the floor, the whole nine. Seven years later, when I was a nobody at HCJHS, a smooth kid from the tougher side of town named Sam "Scooter" Mitchell spotted an outcast kid sitting by himself and invited him to eat lunch at the table with him and his team. He and Fat Reggie ran the most lucrative candy selling ring in the whole school. They had workers and everything. Either they got their inventory at a cut rate price or they outright stole it. Either way, they made plenty money. Scooter was the front man, mouthpiece, and enforcer of the crew. Nobody wanted sauce with Scooter. Even though I played ball for the school and was one of only two black male honor students in eighth grade, I had no identity at all. No swagger, no nothing. Just a kid who hoped no one would bank him in the locker room or on the bus. I was absolutely forbidden to fight or get in any sort of trouble. I'd fought a million times coming up in Uptown NYC, but we were in VA now. Academic excellence was the standard for Shareon; she would settle for nothing less. And I was the drug free, brainiac church boy who never disobeyed his mother. I was a fucking square. I have no problem admitting it. But Scooter took me in. He liked my quick wit and encyclopedia brain. He made me a part of his lunch circle. I finally had a home table in the ultra competitive junior high cafeteria. I idolized Scooter. He didn't take shit from anyone: older kids or teachers. And I feel it's a must to let you know that my junior high included ninth grade at the time. That meant 17 year old men with full beards walking around the school everyday. And there were plenty of guns inside everyday. Halifax County was a war zone at the time, second in the UNITED STATES in murder per capita. But no one fucked with Scooter. No one. One Friday night later that year, Scooter went out with his older friends (he hung out with high school cats outside the school). The car was a hatch back. There were six heads in the whip. Scooter was the youngest and smallest, so by default, he had to sit in the hatch. On the way to the movies on a country road, the car hit a bump. The hatch flew open, ejecting Scooter. He ended up rolling under the wheels, somehow. He was crushed. He died instantly. It also crushed me and so many people. Scooter was a man at 14. I never got over his death; I probably never will. Four years later, I was introduced to Alzheimer's disease. Mary Warren, my brilliant and near perfect grandmother, was diagnosed. She was everything to me growing up. She was the most kind and most giving woman I've ever met, even to this day. Watching her go from brilliant to a vegetable in a matter of less than a decade literally killed my soul. Truth be told, that's the reason why I went to the streets and went so hard for mine. I couldn't rationalize someone so good having to suffer in such a fashion. I lost faith in everything I believed in. I was angry AF. I said fuck it and didn't look back for half a decade. In that time I lost at least a dozen homies to street life, including my big homie Chubb (he died of diabetes, but that came as a result of living two decades of harsh street life) and my homie PR, who was slain while making out of town moves in Bmore. The very MF he pulled the jux with put 14 holes in him. His death marked the beginning of the end of my Jeff crew; we eventually all went our separate ways. As I sit here and think, a lot of that pain resurfaces. Death is the ultimate finality. No one knows the day nor the time. We just know it's coming. And, personally speaking, no matter how often it occurs, you never get over it. All we have are the memories.
Send all love/hate mail to email@example.com. Follow me on the Twitter @tymonday. Follow my bros as well, @TheMisterCeizzo and @CraftyLefty57 and our squadron, @crewunB. As always, we offer the flyest in apparel, whether screen print or a la carte. Check us out on IG at theunbearablescrew. Many blessings