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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Notable Black Folks Who We’ve Lost In 2024

UPDATED: 3:10 p.m. ET., April. 1st, 2024

As we’ve come to understand year after year, day after day even, death is unfortunately an inevitable part of life. Still, as much of a fact as that may be, the blow of experiencing loss never gets any easier, nor does reporting on the subject in Black culture.

“We have lost the iconic Mister Cee,” wrote Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg on X, formerly Twitter. “I listened to him yesterday and am in complete shock. He was a dear friend to all of us, a wonderful man, and one of the most important and impactful DJs of all time. I love you Cee.”

The loss is a heavy one for Hip-Hop culture. Born in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in the late 80’s Mister Cee came to fame as Big Daddy Kane’s DJ, who he met while in high school. As part of the Juice Crew, Cee was there on Kane’s seminal debut album Long Live The Kane, featuring on a song called “Mister Cee’s Master Plan” with his expert cutting and scratching throughout the album.

But perhaps even more notable is that Cee is credited with discovering late, great rapper the Notorious B.I.G. Cee was among the first to co-sign the then local rap phenom before appearing in The Source magazine’s Unsigned Hype section.

There is no cause of death reported at this time.

1. DJ Mister Cee

It's Time For Hip Hop In NYC: Brooklyn


Born in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in the late 80’s Mister Cee came to fame as Big Daddy Kane’s DJ, who he met while in high school. As part of the Juice Crew, Cee was there on Kane’s seminal debut album Long Live The Kane, featuring on a song called “Mister Cee’s Master Plan” with his expert cutting and scratching throughout the album.

But perhaps even more notable is that Cee is credited with discovering late, great rapper the Notorious B.I.G. Cee was among the first to co-sign the then local rap phenom before appearing in The Source magazine’s Unsigned Hype section.

2. Vontae Davis

Former NFL star cornerback Vontae Davis has been found dead in a Florida home at the age of 35.

A death investigation is underway.

According to property records, the home is owned by Adaline Davis, who is Davis’ grandmother.

Police said that a male was found deceased at the home and that no foul play was involved.

3. Saxophonist Casey Benjamin

Casey Benjamin, the renowned saxophonist and founding member of the Robert Glasper Experiment, has passed away at the age of 46. There are currently no details regarding the cause of his death.

Casey Benjamin was born in 1978. He grew up in the vibrant neighborhood of South Jamaica in Queens, New York. Introduced to the saxophone at the age of eight, he honed his skills at the esteemed Harlem School of the Arts. Later, he continued his musical education at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art, the alma mater of notable artists such as Jennifer Aniston, Al Pacino, and Nicki Minaj.

4. Sarah-Ann Shaw, advocate-journalist who broke barriers at WBZ, dies at 90

Sarah-Ann Shaw, advocate-journalist who broke barriers at WBZ, dies at 90


Sarah-Ann Shaw, a pioneering journalist who made history as the first Black woman TV report in Boston, died on March 21. She was 90.

CBS News, the parent company of its affiliate WBZ-TV network in Boston for which Shaw worked for more than three decades, confirmed her death in a news article.

5. Louis Gossett, Jr

Gossett, Jr became the first Black actor to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

6. Dorie Ladner

Joyce and Dorie Ladner, sisters and former SNCC activists in Mississippi and D.C., September 16 in Washington, DC.


Dorie Ann Ladner, a civil rights activist described by the New York Times as being “unsung” despite her significant accomplishments as an organizer, died on March 11. Ladner was 81 years old.

Ladner’s cause of death was confirmed by her younger sister, Joyce, who is also a civil rights icon, as being due to complications from Covid-19.

Dorie Ann Ladner is pictured to the right of her sister, Joyce.

7. Gylan Kain

Gylan Kain, a founding member of the famed spoken word group The Last Poets, died in February. The death was only made public in March after Kain’s family did not initially release details.

The New York Times reported that Kain died in the city of Lelystad in the Netherlands while at a nursing home. According to Kain’s son, Rufus Kain, his father passed away from heart disease.

8. Jessica Pettway

Jessica Pettway


Long-time beauty and hair influencer Jessica Pettway. According to Jessica’s family, the social media starlet has died.

The devastating news comes after a surprising cervical cancer diagnosis and public battle with the disease. According to the YouTuber, after being misdiagnosed with fibroids, a doctor told her she had stage 3 cervical cancer.  Jessica leaves behind a husband and two beautiful daughters.


“Being told I have cancer didn’t devastate me,” she said in an Instagram post at the time. “It was the reaction of those close to me. I knew that God is my healer and that no weapon formed against me, not even cancer, would prosper. I knew that I am more than a conqueror and that I will get through this.” influencer jessica pettway,jessica pettway

9. Sandra Crouch

Andrae Crouch Memorial Celebration Life Of Events


Sandra Crouch, Grammy-winning gospel artist, preacher, and the twin sister of late gospel great Andraé Crouch, has passed away at the age of 81.


As reported by the Journal of Gospel Music, Crouch transitioned on March 17, 2024. Her death was confirmed on the Facebook page of New Christ Memorial Church in California, where she served as Senior Pastor.

10. Anthony “Baby Gap” Walker

Gap Band Performing


Anthony “Baby Gap” Walker, a member of R&B/funk group The Gap Band, has passed away at the age of 60.

The musician and dancer died in an Ohio hospital on March 4 of complications from a recent neck surgery, according to his brother, Dr. Eric Walker.  A memorial service will take place later this week in his hometown of Chicago.

11. Bo$$

Boss, stylized Bo$$, was the very first female rap act signed to Def Jam, with her debut album, Born Gangstaz, released in 1993. The lead single—the Def Jef produced “Deeper”—was a no. 1 hit on the rap charts. Her gruff style and hardcore delivery, along with beats provided by Erick Sermon, T-Ray, MC Serch, and the late Jam Master Jay, amongst others, quickly made her a fan favorite, but a proper follow-up album never materialized.

Although tabbed as a West Coast rapper, she was born in Detroit. Moving to Los Angeles after high school, she was discovered by DJ Quik, who put her on a track with AMG. Word is it got the attention of Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, who inked her to the label’s fledgling Def Jam West imprint—but those in the know say Tracy Waples (an executive producer on the album) is who pushed for her signing.

12. Naomi Ruth Barber King

The sister-in-law of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was considered the matriarch of the family and was also a civil rights activist.

13. Janice Burgess

The creator of ‘The Backyardigans’ Children’s Show

14. Wrestler Michael Jones

Best known to Wrestling Fans as Virgil, the handler of the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, Vincent, & Soul Train Jones

15. Eric Mays

Water Emergency Declared in Flint


The beloved and outspoken councilman was best known unwavering passion for politics and viral quotes and court moments (i.e. “Point of Order!”). His contributions, impact, and energy will be missed by many.

16. Robert Reid

Robert Reid, the former NBA star who played 10 seasons with the Houston Rockets and helped take the franchise to its first two NBA Finals, passed away on Monday following a battle with cancer. He was 68 years old.

The news was confirmed online on Tuesday by Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta.

“It is with great sorrow that my family and I received the news of the passing of Rockets legend, Robert Reid,” Fertitta wrote in a Twitter post. “I have had the privilege of knowing Robert for over 40 years, and his presence always brought joy and positivity to any room he entered. I will never forget watching the Rockets teams he was a part of in the ’80s compete in the Finals and the love he had for the game. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Diana, and all those who held him dear. Robert’s absence will be deeply felt, and he will be fondly remembered.”


17. Herbert Wigwe

Global Citizen Live, Lagos


Herbert Wigwe, a major bank executive in Africa, died on Feb. 9 in a helicopter accident in California. He was just 58 years old.

The CEO of Access Bank, a top-ranked Nigerian-based financial institution, died in the crash along with his wife, son, the former group chairman of the Nigeria Stock Exchange and both pilots, CNN reported.

Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State in Nigeria, eulogized Wigwe in a social media post.

“The tragic incident is painful and heart-wrenching, and we pray for God’s abiding comfort in this profoundly difficult time,” Obaseki wrote. “Wigwe was a colossus in Nigeria’s financial sector, leading Access Bank to become an international brand that placed Nigeria on the global map of first-class financial services.”


18. Hydeia Broadbent

HIV/Aids Activist

19. Snoop Dogg’s Brother, Bing Worthington

20. Henry Fambrough

38th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Arrivals


From the Associated Press:

Henry Fambrough, the last surviving original member of the iconic R&B group The Spinners, whose hits included “It’s a Shame,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” and “The Rubberband Man,” died Wednesday, a spokesperson for the group said. He was 85.

Fambrough died peacefully of natural causes in his northern Virginia home, spokesperson Tanisha Jackson said in a statement.

Fambrough died on Feb. 7

21. Richard Caster

No. 88 Richard Caster- Tight End- New York Jets


Richard Caster, a former HBCU football star who went on to play more than a dozen years as a professional football player in the NFL, died on Feb. 2 at 75.

22. Earl Cureton

Detroit Pistons v Washington Bullets


Earl Cureton, a basketball star who won two NBA championships, died on Feb. 4.

23. Michael Watford

Michael Watford, a church-trained club singer whose baritone boomed over the world’s dance floors for much of the early 1990s, and in the process helped birth a subgenre of club music known as gospel house, died on Jan. 26 in Newark. He was 64.

His cousin Lorie Watford said the cause of his death, in a hospital, was dementia.

Mr. Watford’s signature hit was “So Into You,” a jubilant ditty that paired his romantic, yearning vocal, inspired by Luther Vandross, with insistent strings, a lush piano line, and frequent handclaps and drum rolls. It hit No. 1 on the Billboard dance chart in April 1994, only to be replaced a week later by Barbara Tucker’s “Beautiful People” — on which Mr. Watford provided backing vocals.

24. Clyde Taylor

Clyde Taylor, a “leading figure in the field of Black studies in the 1970s” who “identified work by Black filmmakers as worthy of serious intellectual attention,” died on Jan. 24 at 92, the New York Times reported.

25. Hage Geingob



Hage Geingob, the president of the African nation Namibia, died on Feb 5. He was 82.

26. Aston “Family Man” Barrett

27th Annual Byron Bay Bluesfest 2016


Aston “Family Man” Barrett, the former bassist for legendary reggae group Bob Marley & The Wailers, died on Feb. 3. He was 77.

27. Carl Weathers

Rocky II


The Family said in a statement that Weathers “died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 1st, 2024. … Carl was an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life. Through his contributions to film, television, the arts and sports, he has left an indelible mark and is recognized worldwide and across generations. He was a beloved brother, father, grandfather, partner, and friend.”

28. Radio Host Joe Madison

Second Annual Multicultural Media Correspondents Dinner


Madison was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009. It went into remission following treatment. But he announced in December that the cancer had returned last year.

29. Hinton Battle

Patrick McMullan Archives


Broadway star Hinton Battle died Tuesday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to Hollywood Reporter.

The Tony-winning performer died at 67 after battling an undisclosed illness, which the family intends to keep private.

30. Dexter King

2019 V-103 Winterfest


Dexter Scott King.  The youngest son of the late great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and equally missed Coretta Scott King, Dexter reportedly succumbed to an extensive battle with prostate cancer today (January 22). He was 62 years old.

32. Reggie Wells


“On Jan. 9, the local publication revealed that Wells — who worked with Oprah Winfrey for 30 years, among other A-list stars such as Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin, Michelle Obama, Diahann Carroll and Halle Berry — died in Baltimore, his hometown, “after [battling] a long illness.” He was 76. Before becoming the makeup artist he was known to be, Wells graduated from Baltimore City College and Maryland Institute College of Art and became a city art teacher, according to the Banner.”


33. Jerry Wade aka “The Ultimate Loverman”

In Loving Tribute to Jerry Wade - The Ultimate Loverman


Indianapolis disc jockey Jerry Wade, host of WTLC’s The Quiet Storm with The Loverman Jerry Wade for over 40 years, died at the age 61. his death was confirmed by family on Monday, January 8, 2024. 

via WTLC:

“While on the air, Jerry was ‘Mr. Loverman,’ a charismatic, deep voiced, radio disc-jockey, gracing the airwaves Sunday through Thursday with ‘sexiest show in the city.’ But off-air, Jerry made everyone else feel like they were the super star. ‘The Loverman’ was the personality, but if there he had an alter-ego it was just ‘Jerry.’ An ego-less man who loved Indianapolis and wanted to see people smile. What most listeners didn’t know, was Jerry’s giving heart. Jerry was also the Executive Director of ‘Quality of Life,’ an Adult Day Center on the east side of Indianapolis. If that wasn’t enough Jerry was also a entrepreneur, as the owner of several salons known as ‘Hot Cuts’ and of course ‘Jerry Wade Live’ his mobile DJ service. And a real life ‘Hitch’ as through his date coach services he connected and reconnected countless relationship.”

34. Josephine Wright

The The 94-year-old Hilton Head Island woman gained viral appeal in her legal battle to keep hold of her family’s ancestral land. She passed away on January 7 “surrounded by family, loved ones, and prayers” as per CNN.

More via CNN:

“Wright remained committed to protecting her property, filing multiple counterclaims, accusing the developer of harassing her and trashing her property.

‘I want to be left alone,’ Wright told CNN in July. ‘I want to live on my property like I have always in peace and quiet.’

Media mogul Tyler Perry, who had been a fierce champion of Wright in her fight against developers, said he was ‘heartbroken’ to learn of her death in a tribute on Instagram.

‘Ms. Josephine Wright, even though we spoke by phone, I was so looking forward to meeting you in person next month to hand you the keys to your new house, but God had other plans,’ Perry said.”


35. Former NFL Player Ronald Powell

No cause of death reported at this time

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