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Seven Years After Jam Master Jay’s Tragic Murder, Connie Mizell’s Love Still Glows

When Connie Mizell Seven Years After Jam Master Jay’s Tragic Murder, Connie Mizell’s Love Still Glows

When Connie Mizell would come home from work, her youngest son, Jason, would be either playing his drums or “making noise” with a bunch of rambunctious teenagers. Two of those teenagers were young aspiring rappers Darryl McDaniels and Joseph Simmons. After recruiting Jason, aka DJ Jam-Master Jay, the trio christened themselves Run-D.M.C. and set off on their path to superstardom. Although Connie’s initial reaction to Jason’s music career was “Jam-Master who?”— she recognized greatness in her baby boy. “I always knew that Jason was special,” says Connie, smiling. “He joined the choir when he was 5 years old — that was something no child [of mine] had ever done.”

Young Jason was constantly working to impress his older brothers. “He was always trying to catch up because the [other] kids were older than him,” says the proud mother. “I knew he had a quality there. I tried to train him, and I took him where I wanted him to go. I was never too busy to spend time with him. We were a closely knit family.”

Connie Mizell’s life changed forever on Oct. 30, 2002, when Jay was senselessly murdered at the age of 37. The case remains unsolved, but Mizell has moved beyond the hurt and anger. She attended the ceremony to honor her son at Run-D.M.C.’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “It means the world to me and he’s not here anymore, but his spirit is still here. It means a lot, I’m just thankful to God to be privileged to be here myself. I never dreamed that my son would be in the Hall of Fame,” she says. –todd williams