Disagreement arises during discussion on renaming street in honor of Young Dolph
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There was conflict Tuesday at the Memphis City Council during a discussion about recognizing slain rapper Young Dolph.
Some on the council talked about the difficulty of trying to separate the good deeds of the man from the sometimes incendiary lyrics of his rap music.
“If there is any hesitation or reluctance from this body, I would say shame on you,” said Councilman JB Smiley.
Smiley sponsored legislation to rename a city street in honor of Young Dolph, a symbolic gesture that would not alter existing street names or addresses.
“Shame on you for not wanting to recognize your own,” he said. “Shame on you for casting stones when your skeletons are not out.”
Councilwoman Rhonda Logan acknowledged Young Dolph was a good father and philanthropist but said some of her constituents had voiced concern about praising him.
“There is no shame for myself or for the constituents,” she said during an executive session shortly before the vote. “I respect the young man and what he’s done. But an honorary street name as you would give MLK or Ida B Wells? I didn’t see the correlation.”
“I too have received several phone calls from individuals who just do not feel it is appropriate at this time to recognize this individual,” Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson said. “The type of rap, the type of wording, the degrading remarks about women, that’s important.”
“I’m just an old lady,” added Councilwoman Patrice Robinson. “I don’t like rap. And I don’t like how he talked about women in the rap, but that has nothing to do with his character and what he did for this community.”
Several council members admitted they’d never heard of Young Dolph until after the rapper was shot and killed by two gunmen in Memphis November 17.
“To be honest with you, I had to go online to see who Young Dolph was,” said Councilman Martavius Jones. “The more I learned after reading article after article after article, I concluded we lost a really good guy. We really did.”
Young Dolph, born Adolph Robert Thornton, Jr., grew up in the Castalia Heights area of Orange Mound. Magnolia-Castalia Community Association president Carolyn Goodwin told the council Young Dolph was a role model who prioritized family and community.
“He was an example for the young men in our neighborhood,” she said. “He was a beacon of hope in our community. He wanted to build a music academy for the kids. Not only that, he wanted to create a place where they would learn how to create generational wealth, how to invest money.”
Young Dolph’s aunt, Rita Myers, is battling cancer and received her last dose of chemo 24 hours ago. She appeared frail and sounded breathless as she addressed the council, telling them her nephew was a hero to countless Memphians.
“There were people who couldn’t pay their rent or light bills, and they would come to him and he would give that, pay that from his heart. Lots of people,” said Myers.
In the end, the city council in a unanimous voice vote, approved the honorary renaming of Dunn Road between Airways and Haynes near where the 36-year-old artist grew up. It is also near the spot where a man who gave so much to this city, ultimately lost his life.
“The sky was the limit for this young man,” said Jones. The sky was the limit.”
Memphis police are still searching for Young Dolph’s killers.
Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.
Click here to sign up for our newsletter!
Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.