Nobody makes it out alive.
It's an inescapable fact of life and its greatest paradox as well; when you think about it, the only guaranteed part of life is our sure departure. What you do in between is your own decision. In reflecting on the life of Dwight Arrington Myers, better known as Heavy D, it is impossible not to see the love in his spirit. That level of light is something you don't see often in today's music industry, and it's sad that the game hasn't been able to cultivate that in more artists.
As someone who literally grew up on Heavy D ("Black Coffee" was my favorite song in middle school -- I thought I was grown singing it and dancing along to the video), it's easy to forget that there will be a generation of people who never knew his work, or will only have known it from the first line of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy." It's heartbreaking to know that they may never know a hip hop that isn't completely arrogant or vainglorious, or an R&B that is more Auto-Tune than artistry. The music you listen to in your youth stays with you for the rest of your life -- so with the lack of balance on the radio it's scary that that OJ Da Juice Man and Rihanna might be a whole generation's idea of the greatest artists music has to offer.
But the Overweight Lover was different. Heavy D had what I like to call a "love halo." He exhibited a deep love for hip hop, whether it was with his own work or creating art for others (he wrote the theme songs for The Tracy Morgan Show, MadTV, and In Living Color and produced tracks for Carl Thomas and Jay-Z). He was a master guide in the industry, setting up the stage so that those who came after him could be put on. He gave Sean "Puffy" Combs a chance to prove himself at Uptown. Without that opportunity, who knows if we would have had Mary J. Blige or Biggie? In his acting roles on Roc, Boston Public, and Living Single, his personality scintillated, unable to hide the Heavy-ness. Every endeavor he embarked upon was imbued with a sense of purpose, and he recognized the importance of not just being a star but being a light for the path of others.
Waterbed Hev loved the ladies -- that went without saying -- but he was also clear about his camaraderie with the fellas. Hardly a "b--ch," "ho" or "ni--a" was found in his rhymes. He was smart enough to know how to talk to the people without talking down to them; he was an everyman. Heavy D had love for everyone and everyone had love for Heavy D. That's just how he made people feel. And that's where his power resided.
Seeing Heavy D during his performance at the BET Hip Hop Awards '11 was fantastic. We go to see him show love for the new era of hip hop by crashing their party and reminding them of where they came from. My only hope is that the fervor this man had for his life will be shared with those who are still alive so they might understand what it is to really live a full, honest, loving life. His last tweet said it all: "Be Inspired." Heavy, that we are, and we got nothing but love for ya, baby.