Tuesday, July 23, 2013


This past Saturday, I learned that a friend of mine died in a car crash while returning from a concert in Nashville. Initially, I was shocked, and then about an hour or so later, the grief set in, followed by a number of questions. I couldn’t stop thinking about her kids and wondering if they were alright, etc. It was surreal.

My friend’s name was Cynthia, and she was instrumental in allowing my Speakeasy open-mic to move in to the spot she bartended and booked shows at. We immediately indoctrinated her into the fold, and she quickly became Speakeasy family. After a while, I gave her a microphone to keep behind the bar, and we’d go back and forth throughout the night each week. I started calling her Big Mama, and it was a very fitting nickname, because for friends and family, she was immensely loving and generous.

Over the years, our paths kind of diverted a little bit when Speakeasy left the bar she worked at. If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I’ve committed more into following my art and the opportunities that it has afforded me. During that time, Cynthia became a staunch advocate for autism awareness. She’s been instrumental in putting on a number of fundraisers for the cause, and I was extremely proud of her for pursuing her passion.

What is so troubling about losing her is the timing. Less than two weeks ago, she celebrated her anniversary. The day after she passed, an event called Pints for Autism III took place that she’d played a vital role in bringing to fruition. She and I, during our last conversation, had made tentative plans to see each other there.

Last Thursday, I performed at The Hunter, and one of the poems in my set is called How We Celebrate. It’s about celebrating Hip-Hop culture, but also about celebrating yourself. I told the audience that another day isn’t promised, and with that in mind, it’s vital to celebrate the things and people that we have in our lives while we have them. I had no idea that that statement would hit home so hard in only a matter of days. None of us ever really do though, do we?

I, like many others, am extremely saddened by her passing and the manner by which it occurred. However, I am elated to have known her, to have made her smile, laugh, and to have had her touch my life. I never once had a bad time with Cynthia. She’s a tremendous spirit, and I couldn’t be more pleased by the woman that she was.


No comments:

Post a Comment