Rest In Power: Notable Black Folks Who We’ve Lost In 2022

Yo Gotti In Concert - Atlanta, GA

Source: Paras Griffin / Getty

While death is inevitably a part of life, that truth doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to those who have died.

 

Memphis rapper Snootie Wild has died after suffering a gunshot wound to the neck. Snootie Wild, real name LePreston Porter, was rushed to the hospital after a shooting that took place in Houston, Texas on Friday (February 25). The artist was reported to be in critical condition overnight after being found in his SUV in a ditch.

While info on the shooting remains limited, Jason Smith has posted a number of tribute posts to the fallen rapper. Late Saturday, the news was confirmed via the rapper’s official social media accounts, “Gone in body, but your NAME & LEGACY will live forever! 💙 #TeamYayo4Life💯

 

Keep reading to learn more about the notable Black lives we’ve lost in 2022.

1. Snootie Wild

Snootie first gained the attention of Hip-Hop fans across the nation with the 2014 hit “Yayo,” which featured Yo Gotti. The song eventually peaked at number 30 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The official remix of “Yayo” was released that same year and featured FabolousFrench MontanaJadakiss and YG.

Click here to learn more

2. Moses J. Moseley, 31

Moses J. Moseley, 31

Source:Getty

Moses J. Moseley, an actor who rose to fame on the TV show, “The Walking Dead,” has died. The 31-year-old was found dead in his car in Georgia on Jan. 26 from an gunshot wound to the head. TMZ reported that law enforcement was investigating the death as a suicide but there was no immediate confirmation that was the cause of his death.

3. Bill Owens

Bill Owens

Source:Getty

Bill Owens, a real-life trailblazer who was the first Black state senator in Massachusetts history and a civil rights icon in his own right in the Boston area who notably tried to gain traction on the topic of reparations for Massachusetts residents who are descendants of enslaved Black people in the U.S. Owens, died on Jan. 22 at the age of 84.

The Boston Globe reported that Owens had recently been in declining health, including testing positive for COVID-19. However, an official cause of death was not immediately reported.

While Owens was born in Alabama, he put his roots down in Boston, from where the Democrat launched a successful bid for state representative in 1973 before his historic election to the state senate in 1975, a position in which he served multiple terms until his retirement in 1992.

Not only did Owens graduate from high school in Boston, but he also attended and graduated from Boston University, Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He also lived in Mattapan, a predominately Black neighborhood in Boston.

Aside from the aforementioned efforts for reparations, Owens was a tireless worker on behalf of Black Boston.

4. Betty Davis

Betty Davis

Source:Getty

Betty Davis’s passing was confirmed by her close friend Danielle Maggio.   In a statement from, Connie Portis, another long time friend of Betty Davis. Read More By Clicking Here

5. Syl And Jimmy Johnson

Syl And Jimmy Johnson

Source:Getty

The soul-lacious Johnson brothers have both died within a week of each other. Jimmy died on January 31, 2022 and Syl died on February 6, 2022. Jimmy died at the age of 93, whilst Syl died at the age of 89.

6. Donny Gerrard

Donny Gerrard

Source:Getty

Donny Gerrard died on Thursday, February 3, and had been under hospice care amid a battle with cancer, publicist Bill Carpenter

Vancouver native Donny Gerrard joined the group the ‘Skylark’s’ a pop/rock band in the early ’70s formed by Ronnie Hawkins’s backup groups with the help of legendary composer/arranger David Foster and signed with Capitol Records, releasing a self-titled album in 1972.   “Wildflower” with the lead vocals of Donny Gerrard was the groups biggest hit, reaching number #1 in Canada on the RPM Adult Contemporary chart, it reached number 10 on the Canadian RPM singles chart before making it to the United States peaking at number 9 on Billboard Charts living there for 21 weeks and has sold over a million copies.  “Wildflower” has been covered by many artists, including Color Me Badd, Johnny Mathis, Lisa Fischer, Gary Morris, Creative Source, New Birth, The O’Jays, Marlena Shaw, Lana Wolf, and Silk just to name a few.  ‘Wildflower’ derived from a poem written by one of the members of the Skylark’s however the name of the song is not mentioned anywhere in the song.

7. General Charles McGee

General Charles McGee

Source:Getty

Whether you found out about the Tuskegee Airmen in a history book, the 1995 HBO television movie named after them or George Lucas’ criminally-ignored 2012 film Red Tails, it goes without saying that America was indefinitely made proud by the Black men in that legendary squadron.

One of those prestigious gentlemen who fought bravely in World War II was decorated war hero Charles McGee, who we’re sad to say has passed away recently at the age of 102.

McGee died this past Sunday (January 16)  in his sleep at home in Bethesda, Maryland as reported by his son, Ron McGee. He’s credited with flying 409 fighter combat missions over the span of three wars, later in his military career helping to bring attention to the stateside racism against the same Black pilots who fought for America’s freedom.

More on the courageous and honorable life of Charles McGee below, via AP News:

“After the U.S. entry into World War II, McGee left the University of Illinois to join an experimental program for Black soldiers seeking to train as pilots after the Army Air Corps was forced to admit African Americans. In October 1942 he was sent to the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama for flight training, according to his biography on the website of the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

“You could say that one of the things we were fighting for was equality,” he told The Associated Press in a 1995 interview. “Equality of opportunity. We knew we had the same skills, or better.”

McGee graduated from flight school in June 1943 and in early 1944 joined the all-Black 332nd Fighter Group, known as the “Red Tails.” He flew 136 missions as the group accompanied bombers over Europe.

More than 900 men trained at Tuskegee from 1940 to 1946. About 450 deployed overseas and 150 lost their lives in training or combat.”

McGee stayed with the Army Air Corps (now  U.S. Air Force) for 30 years, going on to serve in record-breaking aerial fighter combat missions which included the Korean War and Vietnam War as well. He eventually retired in 1973 as a colonel in the

8. André Leon Talley

André Leon Talley

Source:Getty

André Leon Talley quickly gained his fame and notoriety as the creative director of Vogue as he worked alongside Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour.

As reported by TMZ, Vogue’s former creative director had been in the hospital battling unknown illnesses. Sources say that Talley passed away Tuesday at a hospital in New York.

André was a key component to the vision and overall aesthetic of Vogue in the ’80s and ’90s. He climbed the ladder in the ranks of Vogue’s magazine, becoming the news director from 1983-87 and then in ’88, ascended to Vogue’s creative director.

Talley was also an influential fashion journalist who worked at Women’s Wear Daily and Vogue and was a regular in the front row of fashion shows in New York and Europe. Standing at 6-feet-6 inches tall with a loud personality, bold looks, and originality at its finest, you could not miss, André Leon Talley.

In a 2013 Vanity Fair spread titled “The Eyeful Tower,” Talley was described as “perhaps the industry’s most important link to the past.”

 

9. Lusia Harris

Lusia Harris

Source:Getty

Lusia “Lucy” Harris-Stewart, the legendary, barrier-breaking hall of fame basketball player whose largely unknown life story was recently told in a new documentary already being mentioned as an Academy Award contender, has died at the age of 66.

Harris’ death was first reported by journalist Howard Megdal, who attributed the announcement to Ann Meyers Drysdale, the Vice President of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. Megdal, founder and editor of women’s basketball news website The Next Hoops, called Harris’ death “terribly sad news.”

Delta State University, Harris’ alma mater, confirmed the death and eulogized her in part as “One of the greatest women’s basketball players to ever grace the court.”

The cause of Harris’ death was not immediately reported. She was less than a month shy of her 67th birthday.

Harris was a natural winner in basketball

Not only did Harris win three straight national championships in the 1970s while starring for Delta University in Mississippi, but the dominating center also won a silver medal at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games and was even drafted into the NBA — the first and still only time that the world’s premier professional basketball league selected a woman.

She won three straight national titles at tiny Delta State University in the 1970s, earned a silver medal at the 1976 Olympic Games, and in 1977 became the first woman officially drafted by an NBA team—the New Orleans Jazz. But she made her mark in an era when women’s basketball, and women’s sports in general, didn’t draw much attention.

The best women’s basketball player ever?

While legendary women’s players like Cheryl Miller and Candace Parker have received an outsized amount of attention for their exploits on the hardwood, Harris — who predated both aforementioned stars — managed to fly under the radar despite her impressive statistics. It was a time well before the WNBA, but Harris’ numbers remain undeniable.

By high school, Harris stood at a towering 6-foot-three inches tall. As a high school basketball star, Harris once scored 46 points in a game, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.

In college, Harris scored a whopping 2,981 in a three-year career for an average of nearly 26 points per game, according to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, into which she has been inducted — the first Black woman to enjoy that distinction.

When she left Delta State, Harris was the owner of 15 separate statistical records and had only lost six games compared to the 109 she won. Delta State said Harris remains the school’s career record holder in points and rebounds.

Harris won a silver medal while competing in the 1977 Olympic Games and leading the team in scoring and rebounding. She scored the very first basket of the 1976 Olympics.

Harris displayed the sort of killer instinct on the basketball court that is associated with the game’s greatest players ever.

“When I got the ball, I knew my job was to score, and more than likely, I would score,” Harris once said.

In 1977, the Utah Jazz selected Harris with the 137th pick in the seventh round of the NBA Draft.

While Harris was known as the first woman to ever be officially drafted into the NBA, Denise Long was actually drafted straight out of high school by the then-San Francisco Warriors in 1969. However, because the NBA did not allow girls to play, she ended up playing in the all-women’s Warrior Girls Basketball League and Harris eventually — and technically — became the first woman to be drafted into the all-male NBA.

‘The Queen of Basketball’

More than a nickname, “The Queen of Basketball” is also the title of an independent documentary executive produced by Shaquille O’Neal that tells the previously untold story of Harris’ groundball prowess.

“My goal is to make Lucy a household name,” Shaq said in an interview published just last week. “This woman should be celebrated. It’s never too late to put up a statue or name an arena. Like I said, it’s way overdue for this young lady. I hope she gets her recognition.”

Ben Proudfoot, who directed “The Queen of Basketball” as part of the New York Time Op-docs series, called Harris “absolutely preeminent.” He said Harris’ willing participation was key to the documentary’s accuracy.

“You could zero in on a specific game and Lucy could tell you how it went with the narrative of the game and how she performed,” Proudfoot told Deadline. “Her memory was really at the highest level of recall that I have ever encountered.”

Watch “The Queen of Basketball” below.

https://youtu.be/vPFkcoTfr7g

10. Ronnie Spector

Ronnie Spector

Source:Getty

Ronnie Spector, the pop music singer who rose to fame in the 1960s as part of the girl group the Ronnettes, died Wednesday at the age of 78. The Associated Press reported that Spector’s death came after a battle with cancer. 

Born Veronica Bennett, the New York City native who was raised in Harlem began performing with her older sister, Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley, as the Ronettes in the early 1960s. They were officially discovered after winning the renowned amateur night talent competition at the world-famous Apollo Theater. 

After signing to the record label of music producer Phil Spector — who would later marry Ronnie Spector — the Ronettes turned the world performing the likes of “Be My Baby” and “Walking in the Rain,” two of the group’s signature hit songs. 

According to Biography.com: 

“… the Ronettes cultivated an image modeled on the streetwise women of their Spanish Harlem roots. Spector in particular is now known as “the original bad girl of rock n’ roll”—she and her band mates wore dark mascara and short skirts, which pushed the envelope at that time.” 

Ronnie ultimately went solo in 1964 and enjoyed a career that spanned through 2017, when the Ronettes released their first single in decades. 

She and Phil Spector married in 1968, after which the couple adopted three children. Phil Spector would ultimately die in prison as a convicted murder following their divorce. 

Far Out Magazine recalled the tumultuous relationship the couple had. 

“Phil Spector was the definition of abusive. From the get-go, owing to jealousy and other questionable elements of his ideation, he turned Ronnie into a shadow of her former self. Over the course of their marriage, Phil Spector became as controlling and psychologically dominant as was possible. He turned his 23-room mansion into a maximum-security prison. It boasted chain-link fences, barbed wire and intercoms in every room, making it nigh on impossible for Ronnie to leave. Her husband had come to embody Orwell’s Big Brother.” 

In 1998, the Ronettes sued Phil Spector claiming he owed them more than $10 million in unpaid royalties. 

The New York Times reported at the time: 

“The plaintiffs claim that after recording 28 songs with Mr. Spector, they were paid a pittance in the early 1960’s, and that Mr. Spector has wrongly deprived them of millions, not only from the sale of their records but also from the licensing of their hit songs in commercials and television shows like ”Moonlighting,” and in films like ”Dirty Dancing” and ”Goodfellas.”” 

11. Harvard Law School Professor Lani Guinier

Harvard Law School Professor Lani Guinier

Source:Getty

Civil rights lawyer, legal scholar and professor Lani Guinier, whose nomination to serve as the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division in President Bill Clinton’s administration was derailed thanks to Republican opposition based on the topic of race, has died at the age of 71. 

She died following complications from Alzheimer’s disease, the Washington Post reported, a citing family member. 

Guinier broke a number of racial barriers in both academia and the legal profession with her work at Ivy League colleges, including Harvard Law School, where she became the first Black woman to be granted tenure. 

On Friday, Harvard Law School Dean John Manning eulogized Guinier in a message to faculty and staff sharing the news of her death. 

“Her scholarship changed our understanding of democracy — of why and how the voices of the historically underrepresented must be heard and what it takes to have a meaningful right to vote. It also transformed our understanding of the educational system and what we must do to create opportunities for all members of our diverse society to learn, grow, and thrive in school and beyond,” Manning wrote in part. 

Despite all of Guinier’s amazing accomplishments in life — including but certainly not limited to being a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University as well as being assistant counsel at the NAACP LDF and serving as special assistant to Assistant Attorney General Drew S. Days in President Jimmy Carter’s administration — she will likely be most remembered for her controversial nomination to serve in the Department of Justice decades later. 

After Clinton nominated Guinier for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in 1993, Republicans pounced because of her views on race and racial discrimination. As an explainer in The Atlantic pointed out, critical race theory became a part of public discourse during the confirmation hearing. Clinton was consequently accused of not fighting hard enough, or at all, for Guinier’s nomination and ultimately withdrew it. 

A Wall Street Journal op-ed writer went so low as to call Guinier “Clinton’s Quota Queen,” which was just a few racist inches away from calling her a “welfare queen.” 

Guinier, a leading legal mind in the area of alternative voting rights, ending up taking a bullet for the Democratic team. She didn’t protest (too loudly) about the smear job done on her by Republican hatchet men. But she did have some choice words during an NAACP conference following the nomination debacle. 

“I endured the personal humiliation of being vilified as a madwoman with strange hair — you know what that means — a strange name and strange ideas, ideas like democracy, freedom and fairness that mean all people must be equally represented in our political process,” Guinier said at the time. “But lest any of you feel sorry for me, according to press reports the president still loves me. He just won’t give me a job.”

12. James Mtume

James Mtume

Source:Getty

Grammy award-winning musician James Mtume reportedly passed away on Sunday, Jan 9 just six days after his 76th birthday. Born James Forman, he was a renowned musician, songwriter, and producer.  

A Philadelphia native, Mtume was exposed to musical greatness from birth as the son of Jazz saxophonist Jimmy Health and stepson of James “Hen Gates” Forman a pianist for Charlie Parker. His love of jazz would continue in his own career joining Miles Davis’ band from 1971-1975 as a percussionist. During that time Mtume recorded three acoustic jazz compositions. 

He later took his eclectic jazz sound, experimenting with digital sounds to create a jazz/R&B/funk blend called “Sophistafunk.” Mtume reached new heights with his self-titled group, recording on the Epic Label from 1978 to 1986.

Their hit single “Juicy Fruit” would go on to become a widely sampled song in the world of Hip Hop. In a 2018 interview with NBC NewsMtume shared that allowing the song to be sampled for “Juicy” by Biggie introduced a new generation to the classic.

He also wrote hit singles for artists like Teddy Pendergrass, Phyllis Hyman, Mary J. Blige and K-Ci & JoJo. Working with guitarist Reggie Lucas, Mtume co-wrote the classic “The Closer I Get to You” sung by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. 

“Never Knew Love Like This,” which Mtume wrote for songstress Stephanie Mills, won a Grammy for Best R&B song. 

13. Singer Jessie D. (Jessie Lee Daniels) of The Force MD’s

Singer Jessie D. (Jessie Lee Daniels) of The Force MD's

Source:Getty

Singer Jessie D. (Jessie Lee Daniels) of The Force MD’s passed away at 57

14. Calvin Simon

On January 6, P-Funk members Bootsie Collins and George Clinton confirmed the death of one their own. One of P-Funk’s original vocalists, Calvin Simon, has died at age 79. Bootsie and George took to social media to announce their friend’s passing.

15. Actor, Sidney Poitier

Actor, Sidney Poitier

Source:Getty

Oscar-winning actor Sir Sidney Poitier has died. An icon of black cinema, Poitier was also an activist, director, and ambassador to his native home of The Bahamas. His death was confirmed by Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell. He was 94 years old.

16. Max Julien

Max Julien

Source:Getty

Max Julien, star of “The Mack,” passed away at the age of 88. 

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE