MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Friends and associates of slain rapper Young Dolph handed out Thanksgiving turkeys at a neighborhood church Friday in Memphis, Tennessee, two days after he was gunned down in broad daylightInside his favourite bakery.

This hip-hop artist, who is also a label owner and known for charitable works in his community, was involved with the organization of the St. James Missionary Baptist Church charity event. He was scheduled to attend before he was shot and killed.

Undaunted, members of his music label, Paper Route Empire, along with church volunteers and community activists, distributed dozens of turkeys, stuffing mix and cranberry sauce — and said “happy Thanksgiving” — to people driving past the church.

Young Dolph, a Castalia native, was organizing the event. Volunteers sat silently among themselves, or in reflective silence while the music was played outside of the church.

Bee Bee Jones (38) is a label employee and helped pass the food to his friend for 30 years.

“When I hear his music, I just break down,” said Jones, who spoke with a reporter while sitting on the rear bumper of a U-Haul truck full of 300 turkeys. “The truth in all of it, and where he came from, that’s what really gets to me sometimes. He would like us to continue giving, but this is exactly what we should do. He came from nothing, but he wanted to make sure everybody got some.”

Police continued searching Friday for possible suspects in the crime, which shocked Memphis and the entertainment industry. Two men were seen exiting a Mercedes white sedan and shooting Young Dolph, according to police.

Young Dolph was actually Adolph Thornton Jr. and his murder sparked outrage against violence in Memphis, where there have been high-profile shootings at K-8 schools, post offices, grocery stores, and other locations in the last two months.

The Memphis Police Department reports that 255 Memphis killings were committed this year. These numbers surpass the 244 last year. That’s in addition to thousands of gun-related incidents reported through this past September.

In a statement about Young Dolph’s killing, Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor called gun violence in Memphis an epidemic.

“The key to addressing the endless cycle of shootings and retaliatory shootings in our community is to heal the generational trauma that makes violence appear to be the only solution to conflict,” Taylor said.

Some community leaders have expressed frustration that so many attempts to address gun-related crime — community meetings, efforts to add police officers, increased crime prevention funding, days of remembrance for murder victims, working with former gang members to intervene in disputes — have not worked.

Van Turner is the president of the NAACP’s local branch. He also has two sons. Turner will host a forum to discuss ways to reduce gun violence next week.

“I’m sort of torn, because people say we always do these things and nothing happens,” Turner said. “But then, if we don’t do anything, what happens? Nothing. But that doesn’t mean we stop. If we don’t do anything, we will have given up.”

Jason Lawrence Turner, Senior Pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church has been involved in addressing gun crimes and mentoring youths in Memphis. He said it’s time for a “course correction.”

“It’s going to take a collaboration of government agencies, certainly churches, and the citizenry, to do our part to divert these instances of violence,” the pastor said. “And, as well, to instill a greater responsibility in the community so that, when there are instances like this, it’s not the responsibility for those in the community to take justice into their own hands.”

This year marks the 100th anniversary for his church. He has set up mentoring programs to help girls and boys in high school and middle school. To help children deal with bullying, the church adopted three schools.

“It’s not all on law enforcement,” Turner said. “Law enforcement shows up after a crime has been committed. We have a responsibility to keep these crimes from being committed.”

Like Jones — the record label associate — and other longtime friends, Sheena Crawford called Young Dolph by his childhood nickname, Mane Mane.

She fondly recalls the time she spent playing basketball with her grandfather and their sisters near St. James. Crawford stated that he liked basketball, and was quiet as a child.

Crawford is grieving, but she remains disappointed at the inability to make progress against gun violence.

“My anxiety is just up through the roof,” she said. “When I leave out my door, I’m scared something is going to happen to me, or something is going to happen to my kids. It doesn’t make any sense.”


Share Your Comment Below


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here