Common’s father ‘Pops’ passes away

Sad news from earlier this week as Common’s father, Lonnie Lynn Sr., has passed away reports Billboard. Lynn Sr. played in the ABA for a couple of years and that connection to pro basketball led to the well-known story of young Com as a ball boy for Michael Jordan. There has been no cause of death revealed to the public, though Billboard notes Lynn Sr. struggled with drugs later in life and put forth that struggle and the struggles of raising six children into his art.

It’s his art that we best know Lonnie Lynn Sr., a.k.a. “Pops” as he became a recurring addition to his son’s albums. In our first intro to Pops on Resurrection he said, “I see harmony, understanding and they’re working on that love thing, too.” I brought back Pops Raps 2 centered on Common’s upcoming fatherhood at the time.

The Intro to ‘Pops’

Pops was also featured on the 10 minute, collab-heavy song with Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and more on Electric Circus, wherein he wrote,

Heaven? Heaven is being Pops
Heaven is spending a day with the grandchildren
Listening to their voices and laugh to them play
And then at the end of the day we hug, we kiss, and slowly they walk away
And then suddenly they turn and rush back to me and hug me around the knees
Yeah … thats heaven to me

Pops’ last poem was for The Dreamer / The Believer and concluded with these, perfect, words:

Live the life you believe. The American dream, the black American dream, the universal dream. For the sake of the unwritten laws of humanity, I believe in God. I believe in my ancestors, I believe in my offsprings … I believe in the truth, truth. See you next lifetime.

The Last Poem

R.I.P. to Lonnie Lynn Sr. His work alone on Common’s albums gave them a unique and fitting finality and it will live on as Common’s legacy of one of the best rappers ever does for generations to come. I suspect we’ll see an emotional Common perform at his AAHH Fest tonight in the Chi, dedicating it to Pops!

Common on his father, Lonnie Lynn Sr:

[A] natural poet and master of words. His personality and soul shined through his work. The way he said things made me look at life and the world in a new way, in a different way. They always sparked a thought in my head. His words would always make me strive to achieve higher, to write better, to be more truthful with my words.


R.I.P. JayAre of Cali Swag District

Above: Cali Swag District’s Smoove Da General, Yung, & JayAre

One of the 4 members of Cali Swag District, JayAre passed away last night, unfortunately succumbing to his battle with sickle cell anemia. According to MTV News, the rapper was admitted to a hospital on Thursday night for unknown reasons, and fell into cardiac arrest and died. JayAre’s untimely passing is the second to happen to Cali Swag District as member “M-Bone” was the victim of a driveby shooting in May of 2011. R.I.P.

R.I.P. Dr. Maya Angelou

Statement from Dr. Maya Angelou’s Family:
Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.
Guy B. Johnson

As you know from the news this morning, Dr. Maya Angelou has passed away at age 86, but her impact and soul will continue to have a great influence on generations to come.

We had our own amazing experience with Dr. Maya Angelou three years ago in what is probably our all-time favorite interview. We were blessed to see first-hand her beautiful, kind soul speaking powerful truths; her mere presence radiated volumes for us in that room and to many more beyond. R.I.P. Dr. Maya Angelou.

GWHH sits down with Common & Dr. Maya Angelou (a Camovement by Cam Be)
(later picked up for a BET special on Maya Angelou)

The truth is we make a mistake when we think that generations can be separated. The truth is you need me, so that I have shoulders you can stand on. And you need me so that you have shoulders somebody else can stand on. We are One. And to separate us and decide that we’ll be polarized is ridiculous, it’s stupid, and it’s dangerous. I am responsible to that 5 year old, that 15 year old, that 30 year old, that 55, I am responsible to you. And I try to live my life as a responsible teacher… giver. Yes, I try to live my life that way, so that I will encourage Common to live his that way.

BONUS: 15 things you (probably) didn’t know about Maya Angelous (but should)

Great Moments with Uncle Phil

This morning brought a bit of sad news in kicking off 2014. James Avery, the actor best known for his iconic role as Uncle Phil in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has passed away. The Fresh Prince was one of the few shows I remember from my early years — my family watched it on a TV as big as your computer screen every night at 6:30 for dinner — so it’s easy for me to feel nostalgic about the show and any related news like today’s unfortunate announcement. I found this quick clip of some “Great Moments with Uncle Phil” to remember him fondly across the many social media tributes. Definitely one to watch to remember a “second father” as Alfonso Ribeiro appropriately puts it. R.I.P.