Photo credit: Instagram – @yungmazibwa

On the evening of Aug. 6, I was notified that Jibril Abdur-Rahman was no longer with us. I did not think about him being a rapper, it did not cross my mind that he was close friends with other rappers, I did not focus on the other occasions where he faced violence or anything that he said or posted in regard to those incidents. The only thing that mattered at the moment was that a father and family man had lost his life.

Multiple local and national media outlets began to report on the incident that claimed his life. Most of the reporters assigned to the story failed to humanize a man that lived a life that went beyond rhymes, affiliation with popular rappers, and gun violence.

They failed to report on how important it was to him to be a loving father to his kids. Always present when they needed him, going above and beyond to bring a smile to the faces of his children, nieces, nephews, and family members. Arriving early on graduation dates and surprising his daughters with gifts for no special reason only to assure them of his love.

There were no reports of him giving back to the community. He would often feed the homeless with family members and friends on Sundays and during the holy month of Ramadan, encouraging others to do the same.

If we only allowed certain media outlets to tell his story, it would be a jaded view of a man who was much more complex.

Just a few years older than him, I’ve known Jibril since he was a baby. Our fathers have been close for decades and they still talk consistently about their youthful days in New York, the jazz era, and the randomness of everyday life. When he was younger, Jibril was a kid who could light up a room with his endearing smile and also had the toughness to earn respect when playing with the big kids who were a few years older. He never backed down and had the capacity to be a leader at a young age.

He would eventually use his gifts to dedicate himself to music. In a city where rap and Black culture flourishes, he found his place by releasing music and gaining a multitude of fans nationwide.

But like many of us in our community, he dealt with pain. Experiencing the loss of two siblings can take a tremendous toll on any strong-willed person. It proved to be difficult at times to cope, but he found peace by using his art to keep their names alive.

Because of Jibril, the world knew the beauty and intelligence of his older sister Bayyinah. And the words “Do it for Mucho” became an iconic phrase and hashtag in dedication to his younger brother, Jihad. There are dozens of paintings by artists across the nation who paid homage to both. More recently, a mural was created at Head First Barbershop in his honor.

At 31, Jibril’s story was still being written. He was finding his way as a young man just as Malcolm Little had before his awakening and transformation. Jibril had all the tools, knowledge, and influence to do the same.

So when you read headlines that focus on a young Black male who rapped, was shot, and died violently, ignore it. Beyond what most media outlets would want you to believe about Yung Mazi, he was Jibril first. A man who cared deeply about his family, friends, and who should still be with us today.

 

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

  • Sade Cooley

    This article brought me to tears. Many have focused on his social media and not care what type of man and father he was. I didn’t know him personally but my heart is broken. Prayers are with his friends and family.

  • Lanx Blues

    Lots of criminals, etc. are/was family men. None the less, RIP.

  • Nikia Johnson

    I love it! Truly spoken. Sometimes we focus on the wrong things. Regardless of what we see on outside, you’ll never know the truth inside. Most speculate, this has really touched me, everyone should be able to have a chance to get it Right. There will always be negativity there to stop progress. I pray for his family and pray for his kids to have understanding. Its sad to not consider his kids nor family. Cold! #staystrong #soyung

  • Rascallflattsgirl

    I’m so glad I read this. And now I know Jabril..Godspeed❤

  • Beautifulltoo

    THANK YOU for speaking on the Jibril that I too knew and loved. His physical presence will be missed, but just like Beanie and Jihad, his spirit will forever remain with all of us who truly knew and loved him. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un

  • Ali Pv

    Thank you. You’re right many media outlets only paint the picture of another fallen black male to the streets. But never do they humanize who the real person was. Personal experience. Ive only know of him for a year through his ig and bwa affiliate but it was something truly special about him that I could see, connect to. Truely he is and always will be this amazing, intelligent full of light man. As I read more of his story, which I hope there will be a book of such. His light will shine forever upon us. Never forgotten rest I heaven Mr. Jibril R.

  • SAMUEL

    I’m sure he was a good father and family man. But he was shot multiple times before this incident happen, obviously people had it out for him. I’m sure he was tough mentally and physically, but have the wisdom to move out of the danger zone and change your approach to life.

  • Dajani

    Excellent article!

  • Aleya Bennett

    Well written so much respect for this. #salute

  • Mz Berry

    Very sad I hope they catch the obvious suspect

  • thomassuzanne

    Ok, is this the same idiot who was shot 100 times and talking ish from his hospital bed about surviving being shot and messing with his shooters? the same idiot who said he would be jealous of him too if he was dark skinned? the same idiot who said he didnt talk to anyone who didnt have gold in their mouth (talking about texans) never heard of him until he died, but he got what he had coming. his kids have to suffer because of his stupidity.

    • Leah

      This is a human life regardless of what he did or said. At times we we as HUMANS forget the simple fact that we are HUMANS. You Sir are no better than any human on this earth. We all have wrong tenfold. Your Comment makes it hard to believe if you didn’t shoot him yourself.

      • Thomassuzanne

        First off, I am not a man😂😂😂😂 and second , I never said anywhere in that comment that I was perfect. I just stated facts! And I can assure you I didn’t shoot him because I don’t live anywhere near the state of Georgia, second, I’m not a gangsta or caught up in stuff he was caught up in. However, I have sense enough to know that still doesn’t make me invincible! Knowing my life could end right now in the safety of my own home, when I’ve never been shot or bothered anyone and don’t live that life, why would I make stupid decisions on a continual basis , and not expect to reap the consequences? That being said, refer to previous comment!

  • *xo.VeeOhPea*

    This article gives me life & restores my faith in humanity.
    As you said soooo many are quick to write him off as yet another gun involved/rapper, totally not thinking of his family who has already lost two so close. It’s sad how this worlds mind goes straight to the gutter at the drop of a hat.
    My condolences, strength & love to you & his family & close friends.
    Rest easily Jibril

  • Suga

    I didn’t know this young man, but your words were well spoken.

  • LT

    Wonderful article and thank you for being the voice. [email protected]

  • Amber June

    This was beautifully written. Brought tears to my eyes. It’s nice to hear the positive and good side of things.

  • Su

    ❤️

  • Su

    He will be missed.Such an amazing person . ❤️

  • Jennifer Locken

    Can’t believe he will NEVER again get to bring the love, happiness, and comfort to his loved ones my heart truly aches I’m so glad this article was written people who really followed him know he had a huge heart and his soul was larger than life sometimes some people are far too great to live here…. he was just that larger than life!!! Long Live jibril!!! 👑❤

  • Vsaye

    Thank you so much for a refreshing article on the passing of a young man.

  • Tonya Fulfillingmydestiny Reed

    Yes so charismatic his soul will never die imprint for life and after heaven gain a soldier