Death of Young Dolph


Archie Lee Boone Jr.


Today, we can change how we see clients and consumers by simply enhancing cultural humility…

In the light of the murder of Young Dolph, fans of rap everywhere are grieving the senseless death of a Memphis street legend.

Oddly enough, moments before the announcement of Dolph’s death, I was homeschooling young Adam and read his book report on a short story called “Super.” Adam describes it,” A super kid is about him and his Dad reading the Bible and telling you who was the heroes of the Bible. He was looking to be a hero.” In Adam’s opinion, he writes, “I like Super, because it is about a kid who wants to be a hero.”

Whether you know Young Dolph by his message, music or his murder, he is a hero- like Nipsey Hussle, XXXtentacion, Juice World, Mac Miller, Tupac Shakur & Notorious Biggie Smalls. The lives of these men were cut short. As of late, due to fatal drug overdoses, but mainly due to gun violence for those listed. The impact of all has many thinking that rappers are being targeted. Many of the slain rappers shared details of their harsh upbringing in short interviews recorded just days and some moments before their tragic deaths. For those of us who ask, “why might rappers be targeted?” I would say that we turn our attention to a quote from the 1991 movie, Boyz N The Hood,” directed by the late John Singleton- who grew up in South Central LA.

The Old Man : Ain’t nobody from outside bringing down the property value. It’s these folk, shootin’ each other and sellin’ that crack rock and “stuff.”

Furious Styles : Well, how you think the crack rock gets into the country? We don’t own any planes. We don’t own no ships. We are not the people who are flyin’ and floatin’ that “stuff” in here.

Furious Styles : Why is it that there is a gun shop on almost every corner in this community?

The Old Man : Why?

Furious Styles : I’ll tell you why. For the same reason that there is a liquor store on almost every corner in the black community. Why? They want us to kill ourselves.

Like Director John Singleton then to his generation, now to their generation, rappers like Young Dolph allow audiences to see the expressive artwork of minorities who suffered the mechanisms underlying disparities in their mental health; implicit biases and cultural competence manifested in public perception of minority youth; generational poverty within their family structures; increased neighborhood-level stressors; and stressful or traumatic events that have a lasting impact on mental and physical development.

Even after Dolph’s tragic death, we are going to continue to listen to his voice even the more. As we try to make sense of things, please try to understand that rappers are transformative people who led thought circles, have influential lifestyles, prophesy their rise to stardom from their humble beginnings to our beloved entertainment industries; sometimes predict their own soon-to-be tragic falls; leave legacies behind through creative content that we consume as rap albums and music videos. And all within the same short life span!

Moreover, as we learn more about Dolph’s life and death, remember that we, in many ways, are outsiders looking into the vulnerabilities of each other’s lives. Young Dolph understood the lack of cultural competence of outside audiences who more times than often, prejudge youth and young adults of ethnic backgrounds. For that reason, he gave us an insider’s perceptive of the streets of Memphis.

Today, we can change how we see clients and consumers by simply enhancing cultural humility to address mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minority youth. 

Today, we can choose to understand that a hero is not going home to his children and their mother.  

Today, we can ask someone that may have been impacted by Young Dolph, “ Are you feeling okay, and would you like to talk about it?”

Today, we can be intentional and speak with compassion. 

Today, we can sign up for trainings to prevent opioid overdose and raise awareness of the effects that childhood trauma play in the lives of adults.

Rest Easy, Young Dolph.


Archie Boone Jr.

Partnerships for Success Coordinator





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