Today I saw a dear friend in a casket. I've known him for almost 3 years. Bebe was the kind of man who would twist your ear slightly just to get a smile out of you. A tall man who was very fond of shorts no matter what the weather called for. (Gotta love an individual)
When I first met Bebe he was on the floor above where my desk was. His office was always dark and he kept a radio playing. He seemed pretty cool and kinda kept to himself. When we moved to our downtown offices I got to talk to Bebe more. I learned that he used to live in the Ft. Greene section of Brooklyn. He lived there before it was cool to. Bebe's Brooklyn experiences were that of crime and a sketchy Ft. Greene park which is the vision I grew up with. Yet Bebe and I shared a love for the gritty time of NYC. He was a fan of the old rough around the edges bursting with creativity NY. Now all that's left here is Applebee's after Olive Garden after Whole Foods, you get the point. :(
My first company related layout was critiqued by Bebe as it was on his brand and with an art director under his guidance. It meant a lot to me that he liked the work we came up with. I was fortunate enough to have a few private conversations with him. As a fellow person of color at an ad agency there were topics we could discuss with a candor that others would not get. I loved the way he spoke. He used words in a very relaxed manner. I never thought for a second that he would not return to create with our work family. I fully expected him to come waltzing through the door into work past my chair just as he would always do. He would flick my hair or pull my ear. Just something to let me know he was there and he noticed me too.
One thing I've learned from this loss is that we are only here for the time we are here. Don't expect people to always be there because we are not promised tomorrow. Express your love for those in you life you cherish. Seize the moment and make your feelings known. Let them know you appreciate them.
There will never be another like Bebe, nor should there be. We got it right the first time with the Chinese "man in black".
I love you B.