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2010 was set to be a year I would never forget and I wasn’t even aware of it. I was in Fort Bliss, Texas when I first found out that my aunt who I considered my sister was missing.

Sony Millbrook had dropped her 4 children off to daycare and didn’t pick them up that evening which was unusual for her. I never will forget when my mother called me and told me that. Considering that I am sometimes the protector in my family  I told my mother maybe she was going through some things and needed a break. She was doing her best raising 5 children on her on.

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My mother is a worrying warrior. She worries about things she has no control over and doesn’t directly affect her, but this time it was different. Deep down inside my mother knew something wasn’t right.

Linda & Kermit James my parents decided after a couple of no word from Sony to take in the children. There were times where I would call them while I was overseas and wouldn’t hear anything but children crying in the background. The youngest child at the time was just a couple of months young not even aware of the situation.

On March 15 her body was found under the hotel bed after several guests had complained of an odor. The room was rented out 5 times before someone decided to find out where the smell was coming from. My father was waiting on me to return from a mission and when I called my parents to just check up on them they then informed me.

It didn’t register to me until the next day that my last time seeing her would be in December before I left for my deployment.

My family lives had been changed forever. Holiday’s & relationships with family members would never be the same. It has been a little over 5 years. This was before I started my YouTube channel.

My father & mother are still to this day raising my Aunt’s 4 kids instead of 5, the oldest one is now raising her on family. My mother tried to return to work, but it was impossible giving her new schedule.

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With just one primary source of income, my parents are the strongest people I know. I’m not sure if I could do something like that. To put your life on hold for the betterment of someone else. My family hasn’t asked for anything but prayer and support.

This is one of the many reasons why I moved to Atlanta to make this work, so I can be a blessing in their life like they have to these kids.

Kleopatra, Kristian, LaKeith & Kolbi are doing well and being loved by Kermit & Linda James.

 


 

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In 2014 a jury convicted LaKeith Moody the father of 4 of Sony’s children guilty of First Degree Murder.

 

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Medeshia Miller

    November 28, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Wow. This is extremely sad situation but your parents are angels.

  2. Atllyric

    November 28, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    I’m so sorry about your aunt. Yes your mother and father are godsends. Bless you and your whole family yes y’all beautiful!!!!

  3. Shani695

    November 28, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    What a story! Your parents are truly amazing people!

  4. Yaya

    November 28, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Very touching story and my prayers go out to your family. Your parents are very strong for stepping up for those children. God bless you all.

  5. Candice Quiller

    November 28, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Oh, wow. I remember you talking about your parents raising your aunt’s kids in a video from awhile back. I thought they were incredibly kind and generous to do so. But I had no idea how your aunt’s body was found. How sad. I’m glad your family found the strength to get through such a terrible time.

  6. Resipoo

    November 29, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Such a touching and well written post. I’m so proud of you and your family.

  7. Lauren

    November 29, 2015 at 2:04 am

    Thanks for sharing that with the world and just know your family with be blessed for what they are doing. You may just be their blessing. Loving and Supporting you all the way from Arkansas.

  8. Regina

    November 29, 2015 at 2:17 am

    I’m very sorry about what happened to your aunt But so happy that you have 2 wonderful parents taking care of your aunt children. I. Know as you continue to grow big you will continue to be a blessing to your family. I know your aunt is smiling down on you all.

  9. BinkiBianca

    November 29, 2015 at 2:27 am

    This is a beautifully written and dad post. I admire your parents for stepping up and sacrificing. I appreciate when you share your true life experiences with us. Even the really painful ones. It puts things into perspective.

  10. TaKeisha

    November 29, 2015 at 3:44 am

    This story was very touching. Thank you for sharing. Your parents are amazing!

  11. Symph

    November 29, 2015 at 10:01 am

    I’m sorry to hear about your aunt. Your parents are amazing people.

  12. Carabbian harper

    November 29, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    God bless you and your family

  13. Vera

    November 29, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I do remember that case. And I can’t imagine the pain your family was in losing a loved one while having to also bear the disrespectful media exploiting the salacious details. Justin, my heart goes out to you and your family. Your family is doing an amazing job with those kids and it takes an enormous amount of strength most of us probably don’t have to take on all that responsibility.

  14. Melanie

    November 29, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Oh my goodness. Such a lovely lady and beautiful children. Your parents will receive many blessings for being so selfless. My heart is touched by this. Love you even more now Justin. Yes help your family.

  15. Virginia Alexander

    November 30, 2015 at 6:13 am

    You are a BLESSING to the James family ! THANK YOU for sharing your love and pain . Sony Millbrook will immortalized by your COURAGE and HONOR ! Smile and Love HARD ALWAYS !

  16. Risa

    December 1, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Wow Justin this story really touched my soul and the way you have handled it and just moved forward with your journey is beyond amazing. As a proud J I wish you all the success and happiness that life is offering you at this time in your life

  17. Ashley

    December 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Wow.. This story is sad, but inspiring because of how strong your parents are. We often complain about things that are occurring in our lives, but we fail to realize what other people are dealing with. We ALL have our struggles, but you have to keep the faith and remain humble. Very proud of you and your family Justin. Thank you for sharing. ❤️

  18. Nikki Handy

    December 7, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Justin you and your parents are truly a blessing! Domestic violence is truly a horrible thing to deal with for the whole family. May your Auntie continue to rest in peace.

  19. Erin

    December 10, 2015 at 12:39 am

    I know you’ve mentioned this tragedy on your channel many times but to actually see the children in the picture with your mom brings me such joy. They are smiling and look soooo happy. Bless your mother and father; they are amazing people 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  20. DeshaMc

    December 3, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Wow, when I say we NEVER know what people are going through…

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For The Culture

Jay-Z, Colin Kaepernick, and Toxic Black Capitalism

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Jay-Z’s recent decision to align himself with the NFL has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. And for good reason. Colin Kaepernick has been blackballed by the league for 897 days. With no sign of him returning, despite maintaining a rigorous fitness regime, many are wondering why Jay-Z did not consult Kaepernick before signing on.

Five am workouts five days a week for three long years. Colin Kaepernick has been waiting in the wings since the NFL colluded to bar him from playing amidst player protests. Eric Reid, who stood beside Kaep in solidarity, has been subjected to excessive random drug tests for just as long. As season after season dredges on, Eric says he has no desire to refrain from protesting and has pledged to kneel during the national anthem this year as well. With NFL viewership in steady decline due to boycotts within the Black community, the league has reached out to an unlikely partner to repair their image and boost their ratings, Jay-Z.

Turncoat

A one-time supporter of the national anthem protests that brought awareness to blatant police brutality, Jay-Z has decided that there’s no time like the present to profit from his brother’s struggle. Billionaire rapper Jay-Z has brokered a deal with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The Roc Nation mogul is now positioned to serve as a gatekeeper, deciding who’s worthy to take the stage as a Super Bowl halftime act. As the internet reflects on Jay’s very vocal criticism of the NFL and recent Super Bowl Halftime Show performers, the irony and hypocrisy of this situation is lost on no one.

“Don’t Do This”

When news of Travis Scott’s participation in the 2019 Halftime Show reached Jay-Z’s ears, he was quick to ask the “Sicko Mode” rapper not to perform. Citing the poor treatment of Colin Kaepernick as the league turned a blind eye to police brutality, Jay-Z urged Travis to change his stance. But now, the “4:44” rapper is the one that’s turned the other cheek. Stating, “we’re past the point of kneeling”, Jay has all but embraced the ideals of his peers. Considering this partnership an opportunity to change the beast from the inside, Jay said in a recent interview that “this is the next phase.”

“We forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice. In that case, this is a success. This is the next phase. There [are] two parts of protesting. You go outside and you protest, and then the company or the individual says, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?”

Ever the capitalist, Jay-Z has turned the ostracism of Kaepernick and scrutiny of Reid into a means of personal profit. While preaching Black solidarity, he cradles the all-mighty dollar. To onlookers, this poses a moral dilemma, but we forget billionaires often lack morals and have questionable ethics. While it is unlikely that Kaepernick will respond with his thoughts on the matter, his longtime girlfriend, Nessa, and Eric Reid have made their thoughts known.

You can’t trust a man who cheated on Beyoncé to make good life choices

Eric Reid took to Twitter yesterday afternoon to chastise Jay-Z for his decision. Stating, “Jay-Z knowingly made a money move with the very people who’ve committed an injustice against Colin and is using social justice to smooth it over with the black community,” Reid says the fight is on. He believes that it is “unjust” that the NFL is now “championing” social justice to cover their own systemic oppression in blackballing his former teammate. What Nessa has to say was much more scathing.

Sharing a video on Instagram of her boyfriend, Colin Kaepernick, training with his ally, former 49er Eric Reid, Nessa included a lengthy statement regarding Jay-Z’s decision.

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We will never turn our backs on @kaepernick7 because your idols decided to work with the same organization that is actively keeping Colin unemployed all because he peacefully protested against social injustice in black and brown communities, specifically police brutality. So really, how can Jay-Z and the NFL utter social justice in their partnership while keeping Colin unemployed because of his social justice work? • • It’s typical for the NFL to buy different PR looks to cover up their dirt-that’s nothing new. But what is disgusting and disappointing is Jay-Z let them use him. Whether Jay-Z knew it or not (I don’t doubt his intelligence-so I would think he knew) he helped the NFL bury who he said is an iconic figure, Colin Kaepernick. • • Don’t tell me there’s a “master plan and wait for it” because the ONLY reason anything would ever change is because THE PEOPLE are loud and clear and won’t let the league buy their loyalty with their disingenuous moves. The people are letting the league and anyone who works with them know that they aren’t buying the bs. • • Thank you all so much for showing Colin so much support and love. I know for myself, I can’t thank y’all enough for loving my family. • #imwithkap #nokapnonfl ❤️❤️❤️ • • #RP: @kaepernick7: ‪You never turned your back on me or the people, even when the nfl tried to silence your voice & the movement. You’ve never flinched or wavered. I love you Brother! Let’s get it! @E_Reid35‬ ‪ And to the people – I see you, I hear you and I love you! Thank you for having my back!!!✊🏾‬ • • 🎥: @relrelrelrel @djtonedef

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Knowing that Jay-Z is helping the NFL rebrand itself is disheartening but predictable. After all, he is a prominent figure in the Black community. It was inevitable that the league would reach out to a “respected” rapper to leverage his image to increase viewership. In fact, it’s the same strategy they used when they reached out to Travis Scott. The only difference here is that Jay-Z is well within the ranks of the wealthy, privy to those dubious politics, and versed in the manipulation of exploiting his own community for financial gain.

Do you believe that Jay-Z’s efforts will lead to further dissension in the NFL? Or will his position as a gatekeeper lead to a fitting resolution? Do you think his relationship with Robert Kraft influenced his decision?

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For The Culture

Merited Whiteness: Why Chris Cuomo Responded Violently to “Fredo”

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Instead of talking about the obvious wrong of comparing “Fredo” to the n-word, let’s discuss merited Whiteness and Cuomo’s response.

While out with his family, Chris Cuomo was accosted by a man who compared him to the Judas Iscariot of the Corleone family, Fredo Corleone. It’s easy to see why Chris would have perceived the sudden hurling of “Fredo” as an insult, who wouldn’t. Fredo was a man out of his depth. He was intelligent, sure. But he lacked the cunning necessary to navigate life in the mafia. Fredo was a soft-hearted, loveable idiot who said more than he should have to the wrong people. His unintentional slight got him in trouble with a community that felt entitled to his allegiance. This is the very same entitlement that possessed a stranger to believe he held the authority to pull Chris Cuomo’s merited whiteness card.

Fredo’s offense in many ways is seen as something lateral to Chris Cuomo’s presence as a journalist at CNN. The child of the 52nd Governor of New York and brother of the current Governor, who is a staunch critic of Republican politicians and their constituents, Chris stands on the wrong side, to some, in a fight for “American Values.” He is outspoken and detached from his beginnings as a political analyst on Fox News. Being the descendant of a family that is only two generations removed from their Tramonti, Campania Italian origins, The Cuomo’s represent a side of American history that is not often discussed, the assimilation of European immigrants to American whiteness.

When Italians began immigrating to the US, they were not looked upon favorably. But like the Irish and members of other European communities, they united in their “othered” state to gain acceptance, overcome their backgrounds, and race toward the American Dream. But the American Dream isn’t a big house with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a dog, it’s whiteness. To be White is to be distinctly American, devoid of cultural attachments and devoted to racial supremacy. But like the Borg, whiteness requires assimilation and shared consciousness. Like their hive-minded chant, Magats would also believe “Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”

For families like the Cuomo’s, who were privileged enough to own a business and accumulate wealth shortly after their arrival, the trajectory to acceptance was higher than most. As Henry Pratt Fairchild said when discussing the bestowed privileges of whiteness to immigrants, “If he proves himself a man, and rises above his station, and acquires wealth, and cleans himself up — very well, we receive him after a generation or two. But at present, he is far beneath us, and the burden of proof rests with him.” So how, after a single generation, did the Cuomo’s ascend their station? By becoming fast friends with the Trump family.

After Mario Cuomo represented Fred Trump in an undisclosed legal matter, their families maintained contact. Golfing trips in Florida and New York, letters filled with flattery, and partnerships that benefitted the Trumps as developers and the Cuomos political ambitions. Beyond the business relationships of the two families, you have to wonder what values they grew to share. Judging by a 2008 remark regarding Barack Obama where Andrew spouted “You can’t shuck and jive at a press conference.” and Chris’ false equivalence of Fredo and the n-word, they share quite a few. Still, you must wonder why “Fredo” would elicit such a response from Chris. Is it because he feels his status demands subordination? Is it because he felt his whiteness was challenged?

Perceiving the use of “Fredo” as an anti-Italian slur, Chris Cuomo found himself feeling as immigrants did upon their arrival to the “land of dreams.” As explored by Maria Elisa Altese, there is a perception that Italian-Americans have forgotten what it is like to be targeted. Chris Cuomo has lived comfortably in the US as a white man, never before having his status challenged. As written by Robert F. Forester, in a country where the distinction between white man and black is intended as a distinction of value… it is no compliment to the Italian to deny him his whiteness, but that actually happens with considerable frequency.” So in his rage, Chris expressed how entitled he felt to the benefits of whiteness, it’s inclusivity, and how no one like him wants to be Black.

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Should I Have to Disclose That I’m HIV+ If I’m Undetectable?

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