Yesterday morning I had to stop for gas on the way to the train station because my car had below a quarter of a tank. Dougie Fresh was on the Tom Joyner Morning Show on 105.1 discussing who Heavy D was as a person. Apparently Heavy D was sort of Dougie’s protege, which resulted in them forming an incredibly tight bond. Dougie bragged that his friend never made one enemy in hip-hop. No one could honestly say they disliked him. He reiterated the fact that Heavy D was about positivity at all times. And he was that dude that would tell you the truth even if you didn’t want to hear it. In a genre heavily based on male bravado, rap battles/beefs, it is a hell of a feat to have been so loved never making an enemy. In that moment I wondered what my friends would say about me when I leave this earth. It wouldn’t be that I never had an enemy. Ha! Unexpectedly, I got choked up listening to Dougie talk about his late friend who died at the young age of 44 on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. I didn’t shed a tear for Steve Jobs although I tweeted about his death like the 500+ people I follow on Twitter. For some reason Heavy D was different. His death touched me. As we drove off from the gas station I kept repeating, “Forty-four is so young. Forty-four is young. Forty-four is young.”

Just this past weekend my best friend and I were discussing 90s music. We concluded it was the best. Many of the artists were legendary. Even the one hit wonders made classic songs that had the power to take you back to a place and time where you remember exactly what was going on in your life. Heavy D’s name came up as we reminisced in our hotel room. I don’t remember why we brought him up since the conversation had shifted from 90s music to 90s TV shows, but I do remember saying that I loved me some Heavy D. Three days later he was pronounced dead.

Heavy D always seemed comfortable in his own skin. He was that cool, chill dude. On top of me loving his music, I loved his personality. He exuded energy. I remember watching him on BET’s “Our Voices” in the 90s featuring my cousin, Rev. Calvin Butts, Donald Byrd, Bev Smith, Masta Ace discussing misogyny in hip-hop. My cousin, a young renowned model at the time, and he, a hip-hop artist, talked about the violence and degradation in rap. Oh, the days when BET used to have such good programming.

Forty-four is so young. I feel like I’ve said that now at least 25 times. We take each breath for granted. Every day we wake up, open our eyes, place our feet onto the floor we are blessed. Sometimes we don’t realize how easy it is for someone to be here today and gone tomorrow.

I salute Heavy D for always being such a positive male. From his upliftment of black women to his writing the theme song to Living Single to his fun songs we could dance to at a party, he was that dude. His last tweet represents the essence of his spirit. “Be inspired.” I needed to hear that today, D. Thank you. You will be missed. I wish we had appreciated you, like many others, while you were still here.