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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...


No More Bounce: The Loss of Heavy D

I came out to a dark parking lot & reached for my phone before turning the car on. A text from B.B. It said Heavy D died. Then I saw a missed call. Knew it too had to be from B.B. It was. I knew then that Heavy D is really dead. Dead.

& I don't understand.

Hip Hop is fairly young, compared to other music forms. While I am aging along with Hip Hop, & many of it's godfathers were older than me when it "started out in the park," it's still young. Hell, I'm still young. As 1 of my students said, "30's not old anymore." Heavy was 44. Was. That's past tense. But today he counted as "is" until about noon, on the Left Coast.

It's been a long time since Heavy D was musically relevant. His reggae album--that I'm sure most of you didn't even know exists--came out last year, if I'm not mistaken. He hasn't been too visible on the things that I watch, but from time to time you could catch him on a sitcom or TV drama. The man was versatile. He was the teddy bear with the lazy eye & the wicked smile that made you kinda crush on him even if you don't like your boys big.

Heavy's lyrics were never gangsta. He was a fun loving big boy who got it in with his dancers, killin' the choreo. He invented "light on your feet" & "was more bounce to the ounce." We bounced into better collective self-esteem as black girls, feeling like he truly loved us & would be responsible for convincing others it's OK to love us too.

I feel like I'm at the sputtering stage now; where disbelief that a man of 44 would be stretched out in his driveway unconscious, & then gone. 44 is too close to 36 & as per usual, death makes us reassess Life. Heavy D had been fairly invisible until recently, resurfacing for awards shows, blowing all of our minds with his ability to still be light on his feet. It gave me hope that those who held me down in my development are still around, still viable, & able to recreate themselves. That's a necessary skill, now more than ever. What are we without examples? Heavy D, Dwight Arrington Myers on his birth certificate, was an example on many levels. Classy & articulate. Fun & fun loving. Talented & open. We should look to him to emulate those traits now & let that be the celebration of his life.

I leave you with 1 of my favorites. It's reminiscent of LL's Around the Way Girls with a little less "hood" reference, making it open to sistas who may have come from some other ways than the 1's James Todd posted up on.

Watch him groove.

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