Makeda’s owners break silence after rapper Young Dolph’s murder in their bakery
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In their first interview since Memphis rapper Adolph “Young Dolph” Thornton, Jr. was gunned down in their bakery Wednesday, the owners of Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies say the community must come together for change.
Maurice and Pamela Hill shared their concerns for the community from their new factory downtown after they boarded up their flagship store on Airways Boulevard where fans have built a memorial for the rapper.
“Losing his life buying my cookies because he just felt comfortable coming there,” Pamela Hill said, shaking her head. “It’s just been hard for me to just digest.”
The husband and wife of 23 years say their first thoughts are with Dolph’s high school sweetheart and two surviving children.
“First of all, we would like to send our condolences and our deepest sympathy to the Thornton family, Young Dolph’s beautiful wife, and his two beautiful children,” Maurice Hill said. “And us, just kind of in a nightmare that we can’t wake up from.”
As usual, family members were running the store just after noon Wednesday when Dolph drove up in his camo Corvette. He didn’t ask for his usual chocolate chip cookies and ice cream.
“He got two lemon and strawberries,” said Pamela Hill. “It was for his mother.”
Dolph and an unidentified young man stood in the left corner of the store on their cell phones and never saw it coming. Maurice Hill drove up to see his workers raising their heads from ducking bullets and the young man deeply upset.
“He was distraught. He was hysterical. He was punching on the window and because I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t know there was a body lying there and I thought, matter of fact, I thought he had shot the place up himself.” Maurice Hill recalled.
Maurice Hill says just a year ago, Young Dolph told him he wanted to tell the world about Makeda’s. The baker now feels an eerie and painful coincidence between what’s happening now and the store’s namesake, Makeda, his six-year-old niece. She was a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and died of leukemia.
“She told my wife and her mother, she said, why is everybody bringing me all these presents? She said they think I’m going to die.’ But she said I’m not going anywhere. But don’t tell them. And for those words to come out of her mouth, that she’s not going anywhere. And here we are almost 23 years later, and they’re still calling her name,” said Maurice Hill.
He says this is not how he wanted Dolph to let the world know.
Pamela Hill, who shared the same July 27 birthdate with the slain rapper, says she might not have been familiar with his music, but she felt akin to him as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.
“Just wanting to give, just wanting to change the whole world. You know? I feel that’s what he felt. He was so sweet and so pleasant. He would just say, ‘Hey, ma,’ and when I called him Little Dolph, he would just smile. He never did correct me and tell me who he really was,” she smiled.
The family says insurance does not cover damage from dozens of bullets sprayed through the building. Dr. Kia Moore, pastor of We Make Wells Church, set up a GoFundMe for the family to help repair the building, but fake fundraisers are turning up online. Moore says this is the only official link to the fundraiser: https://gofund.me/b6306d08.
Makeda’s had just held its grand opening at a new factory and shop located at 301 Jefferson Avenue on November 6. For the first time in 22 years, the Hills will close their Airways Boulevard store until January and open their new downtown location to the public Monday.
Pamela Hill says now is the time to end the killing of young black men.
“Losing him from this tragedy, I think that there’s something for all of us to do. To get out of it,” she nodded. “I think it’s time for us to, I guess, stop talking and we have to do something.”
While Pamela Hill says she does not feel safe with the killers still out there, she feels God spared them for a purpose.
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