By Malcolm A. Punter, HCCI
On Saturday, fans and friends around the world mourned the loss and celebrated the life of one of Hip Hop’s most spiritual,
compassionate, and complicated artists, rap icon, Earl Simmons, known by his stage name DMX (“Dark Man X”).Reflecting his deep connection to the community, his funeral was replete with the splendor fit for Hip Hop Royalty.
A monster truck carrying his cherry-red casket, led a procession of hundreds of Ruff Ryders on motorcycles from his hometown of Yonkers, New York, through Harlem, to a memorial at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center that featured Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir.
As a Harlem youth, I remember bouncing to the frenetic energy of his music. His lyrics boldly express a holistic portrayal of humanity, unapologetically extolling his strengths, weaknesses, trials, triumphs, love, and rage.
A gifted orator, X died at the young age of 50 from a heart attack. A known substance user, DMX had been institutionalized at the tender age of seven and spoke publicly about the trauma he experienced as a child.
Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he used substances to self-medicate and escape the pain inflicted by the years of childhood abuse he experienced.
As a child, he was bright and placed higher on tests than his fellow classmates. And in spite of his troubles, his talent shone through.
DMX was wildly successful. He was the first artist to debut an album at number one, five times in a row, on the Billboard 200 charts.
Overall, he sold more than 74 million records worldwide, and he was featured in five movies.
This self-proclaimed stick-up kid touched millions with music that illuminated his struggles, shed light on the pain of youth who were failed by the system, and praised God.
While DMX was unique in his gifts, his struggles were not uncommon. Many grapples with trauma and addiction in pursuit of a better, stable life. Regardless of your struggle, HCCI is here to help.
Everyone deserves a chance to live their best life, a chance to shine.
From financial literacy classes to referrals to substance use programs, to programs for people who aged out of foster care, we are here to serve.
Malcolm A. Punter is responsible for the management and oversight of all aspects of HCCI. Malcolm Punter earned a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) specializing in Executive Leadership, with an emphasis on social justice from St. John Fisher College. Dr. Punter also holds a Master of science Law Degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, specializing in international, corporate taxation and financial services, an M.B.A in Management, and a B.S. in Behavioral Science.
Photo credit: DMX by HCCI.