On the night after Jam Master Jay passed away, Damali and I drove up to that block in Jamaica Queens, where the people of his beloved neighborhood have been keeping a round-the-clock vigil. it was a quiet but intensely emotional scene. I printed out 25 pages of the remembrances posted at okayplayer.com, and added them to the ever-growing memorial.
Dozens of folks were coming by and stopping to mourn silently, or exchange memories with the stranger standing next to them. Older heads from the neighborhood who grew up with Jay stepped forward imploring the crowd gathered there to stop this madness, asking how we could do this to ourselves.. at one point a brother turned to the cops and said "The media don't care.. these cops don't care..no disrespect but FUCK ALL Y'ALL"
The guy in my pictures with the boombox (blasting the greatest hits CD) had been there since 8 AM, to make sure the media didn't twist things around or interview people that aren't really down. There was a strong sense that this memorial belonged to the community and they were making sure it stayed true. It was a deeply moving scene.
- Jay Smooth, WBAI