Will Da Real One's murder left many questions

But a tight-knit group is ready to keep preaching the word.

Poets from across the nation, including former Cosby Show star Malcolm Jamal-Warner, came to Miami to hear Will speak. And like so many others who met Will, Jamal-Warner became a fan and friend. "I must have listened to his CD a good 13 times," Jamal-Warner recalls. "I never got to tell Will that no other poet made me question my own creativity like he did."

With the success came perks. Will would go to his favorite stores and return home with bags of free clothes, says his girlfriend of 13 years, Tosca Carroll. "With all his accomplishments, boutiques would give him stuff to wear onstage because it was free advertising for their business," Tosca recalls. "He had so many size 13 sneakers in our closet that I told him we needed a bigger closet if he was going to bring anymore home."

But for all the acclaim he garnered, Will often lamented that making poetry didn't necessarily translate to making enough money to pay the bills. Friend and fellow poet Rebecca "Butterfly" Vaughns remembers talking to Will about his frustrations. He once told her: "Butterfly, I don't know how you do this full time. This poetry thing needs to pick up or I am going to have to move on to something else."

Will with a friend and her daughter shortly after his return from military service in 1988.
Courtesy of Cynthia Bell-Lewis
Will with a friend and her daughter shortly after his return from military service in 1988.
Will's casket is wheeled out of the church for his final ride to the cemetery.
Michael McElroy
Will's casket is wheeled out of the church for his final ride to the cemetery.

She constantly reminded him that poetry is more about passion than profession. "It's all about patience," Butterfly told him. "Give it time. Nothing happens overnight."

Will shrugged and smiled. "OK, I'll stick with it. But, man, it's hard."

I run till I get to the night of February 21, 1965

And I find myself standing backstage at Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom

Trying to explain to Malcolm that the enemy has sent four of his goons

And I explain that, yes, Malcolm, we know change is going to come

But it don't have to be this soon

So I take a few of Malcolm's security people and we just clear the whole motherfucking room

All of a sudden the CIA shows up screaming:

You better run, nigga.

So I run

I run till I get to April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee

And I'm standing in front of the Lorraine Motel with Dr. Martin Luther King

And shots begin to ring

And I just don't want to lift every voice and sing

So I scoot back

And I cover Dr. King with my own body

As we hit the floor

Because today it's the only damn Jesus that I'm willing to die for.

Forty minutes past midnight on May 29, while other poets were lost in conversation near the entrance of the Literary Café, Will put out his cigarette and walked to his Charger. No one paid close attention to a car that pulled into the parking lot, almost blocking Will's ride. A young black man emerged from the passenger side. He approached Will as if he knew him. Muzzle flashes and three loud pops shattered the calm, muggy night. The poets scattered, some rushing back into the café. Da Real One wasn't with them. He was still outside, slumped on the ground next to his Charger.

Will died instantly from his gunshot wounds, according to witnesses.

Nearly two months later, North Miami Police homicide detectives have no leads. The suspects were not trying to rob Will — they didn't take his jewelry or cash. The killers didn't leave behind any fingerprints or DNA evidence, either. And in the aftermath of the shooting, witnesses gave police differing descriptions of the getaway car's color. Some said it was light, others dark. Some said it had a rear spoiler.

Relatives and friends claim they don't know anyone who had a beef with Will, but they believe the killers definitely knew him. Butterfly, the poet who counseled Will about loving his craft, says their only hope is that one of the suspects turns himself in. "I know whoever did this is not getting the satisfaction they were seeking," she says. "I don't think his killers expected the outpouring of love over Will."

His death has devastated her and her fellow poets, Butterfly adds. "Will went through hell and back. He should have been dead in his 20s. But he turned his life around. That's what hurts the most."

I can't write about shit like having my own room as a child

I can't write about how my mother was so proud of my report cards

Due to my depressed state because of her psychological profile

I can't write about how I grew up to be a soldier for this great nation

Without getting into how I was denied and denied time and time again

Through the rejection of my college applications

In order for me to deal with this world, once upon a time I had to snort not one, not two, but at least three lines.

I can't write about the countless drug deals in my mother's home and stop to think it was my mother's life I was risking.

Childhood for Will Da Real One was an all-too-familiar tale of African-American boys growing up in the inner-city neighborhoods of Miami. His dad, Will Sr., split from his mom, Ruby, when Will was 10 years old. The single mother and her three children (Will, then-8-year-old Calvin, and then-2-year-old Cynthia) lived in a two-bedroom apartment in the Edison Court Projects, a stretch of government-subsidized bungalows at NW 62nd Street and Third Avenue, where Will once owned his own corner to sell cocaine.

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35 comments
willfan
willfan

Wow, Will amazing article about you, I am just reading this, and I must say, we all do right and wrong things in our lives NO ONE lives right and perfect, but we shouldn't judge and definitely shouldn't say someone should pay for their actions by death and saying he got what he deserved, that is beyond cold hearted and harsh. Its not like the article is talking about a mass murderer who rapes and kills little kids and the world would be better off without a human being like them, this is man who struggled in young life, and turned his life around to the best he could and tried to make a living with a passion and a dream. Because he didn't sit behind a desk working 9-5 corporate America or carrying a master degree under his belt doesn't mean his decision to make money with his passion makes him wrong. Will was talented, and I give high respect to even chase after his dream of Spoken Word. Spoken word isn't largely known and to see someone try to make a living off it it is impressive, he made people see what poetry is, and introduced poetry to a lot of pple. Its obvious he made someone mad enough to want to take his life away, but to put judgment on oh he must of did something to deserve it, is just cruel.And to read that he felt something in his heart/mind that made him have restless nights before he died, makes it even sadder, if only he could of said something. Will, you held it down in the poetry world. To many of us, people thought you were just balling with money, and many envied the fact that you made money out of your own business and passion, but as this article proves, things weren't as they seemed.You carried a god given talent, and when you would read and spit your poetry you made the building have vibrations. Being in a city like Miami where people just don't give a dam and will kill for almost any reason, saddens me that you were a part of it, i truly believe, had you been able to close the shop and tour just a little bit earlier than your death, you would of still been here, Miami, carry too much hate, and wouldn't want to see anyone successful.Your poetry lives on, thank goodness for your cds, and writings because it remains here, and it will forever be, in this generation, the next generation and more generations to come, a touch in peoples lives. You don't only leave behind a poet murdered, you leave behind your gift, and thats something a lot of people don't get a chance to do when they pass. Forever in our hearts, forever in our memories, forever in poetry! Love u Will

Frm3052904
Frm3052904

I frequented the The Literary Cafe and I had never heard of or ever seen this Tosca until the demise of Will, where she now decides to be all over the news as his "life partner". I, like the previous poster, only knew SANDI as Will's fiancee. She is the face that I saw at the cafe, she was the one on the front row at the funeral (next to his son), her name was in the obituary, she was the one that picked out the casket, and the one that decided to put him in the suit he had on. I don't know what kind of fame Tosca is seeking out of this. But its dispicable to try to gain from someone's death. Such a shame. (I won't bother to discuss her attire).

Poetryhesaidshesaid
Poetryhesaidshesaid

FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This Tosca USED to be Will's girlfriend, but at the time of his death he was engaged to a lovely woman named Sandra (the love of his life since around 2008-2009). Ask the family. The poetry community has come to know Sandra as Sandra BELL!!!!! THAT is who is grieving the most, and this foolishness is not helping. If this is REAL journalism then they would have noticed that this PHONY was NOT in the family car, was NOT in the front row at the funeral, and NOT in the three seats at the burial. FACT CHECK and stop letting desperate fame seekers (with a HORRIBLE fashion sense in the area of funeral attire) distract you from the important task at hand, and that is to find who murdered my friend! And you can keep deleting my comment... I will KEEP POSTING IT!

Poetryhesaidshesaid
Poetryhesaidshesaid

FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This Tosca female USED to be Will's girlfriend, but at the time of his death he was engaged to a lovely woman named Sandra (the love of his life since around 2008-2009). Ask the family. The poetry community has come to know Sandra as Sandra BELL!!!!! THAT is who is grieving the most, and this foolishness is not helping. If this is REAL journalism then they would have noticed that this PHONY was NOT in the family car, was NOT in the front row at the funeral, and NOT in the three seats at the burial. FACT CHECK and stop letting desperate fame seekers (with horrible taste in fashion and funeral wear) distract you from the important task at hand, and that is to find who murdered my friend! AND SCENE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Urtik
Urtik

Dam whether he's Black or White, the truth is the light, you moron.

LMR
LMR

A fine intellectual killed by a coward nigger...what a shame. RIP Will.

CAMSHEEL
CAMSHEEL

I am here to say to the family do not know details of this murder i just want to say my prayers go out to the family of this young man life cut short in his prime.

Happy
Happy

There's a reason why we're still around and he's not!

aaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaa

he screwed up and paid the price...not as innocent as you make him

aaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaa

really...and we are supposed to believe he is innocent? don't buy that crap. And not every man or woman is important to us because when they bring their beliefs and lazy lifestyle of robbery, drugs and murder they are nothing to us and they need to die right away.,,no jail time just a bullet. Miami is pathetic because we let Cubans take over and ruin it. You never let peasants run a state or a country...they have no idea of politics...just greed and self-serviing to their breed. Peasants thinking they know how to run our cities...what a waste Miami is.

Charles Dundee
Charles Dundee

Will and another woman from Liberty City were the first ones to encourage my writing and gave me an intimate look inside life in the inner-city. It really is a loving community in many ways. No matter how bad my initial poems seemed to be, they kept encouraging me and always made me feel at home.

Havetoseeit
Havetoseeit

Come on people that crap is not poetry or God inspired verse....it stupid ass shit spewed by someone trying to act smart. Go to the fucking Opera or Ballet you losers

ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM
ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM

Listen to some of the comments by these negroes. It's like, "just another day in the office."The only way these WHITE MEN in BLACK BODIES will overcome, including me, is when JESUS GETS BACK..

ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM
ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM

By the same token. Le me explain something to some of you lame brains about what it is to be an American. To be an American means that from this point on, I see each man as a man. Not as a Cuban or a Haitian or a Mexican or a Hondoran or a Columbian. We see a person as a man, as an individual, regardless of race color or creed. How many of you can do that. Probably very few. Why? Because you're a Jackass. Any true man will tell you that every man is important, every dream is important, and most of all, the 'PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD. Go inside suckers, that's where the problem is.Get the speck outcha own eye!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM
ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM

It's too much under the rug down here and all they need is some poor political poet to bring national attention to it. Think about it. All the Black Leadership Miami has had, has come in the like of "ya done good" type of shit or Uncle Loco. The only man I can remember with some sense is the one they aggravated so bad, he went to the Enquirer and shot his own head off. When it really dawn upon the White Folks up North, what the Cubans have done down here, they'll call for Senate Hearings. Trust me,

ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM
ABLACKMANDIDIT.COM

It left no questions with me. I've been hear since 19 53 and know their is an element who fears any strong Black outspoken competition. A Black man may have pulled the trigger, but some of these killings of African Men are orchestrated by Arabs or Cubans. Trust me.

guest
guest

If we had all known him before, his Cafe would have been sold out every night.

Vtillman87
Vtillman87

This is such a tragedy. I didn't know him personally, but I got the chance to hear him recite some of his poetry. He was a great man that died for a foolish reason and he will always be remembered. RIP Will

Ttsturrup
Ttsturrup

I went to his funeral last month.

La Guardia
La Guardia

Incredible article and tribute to Will. It gives me insight into the life off this great person I've met, but never got the chance to know.

+

JeffZelaya
JeffZelaya

Chilling story. Great work Francisco - your best piece thus far.

Jeff

JACOOK16
JACOOK16

CILL MY LANDLORD.... CILL MY LANDLORD..... C-I-L-L....CILL MY LANDLORD.

yokolee
yokolee

Great poetry...........(?)

eston.anderson
eston.anderson

@Poetryhesaidshesaid       HI POETRY HOW ARE YOU IM ESTON I WAS WILLS FRIEND AND INVESTOR I WOULD APPRECIATE IF YOU COULD GET ME IN TOUCH WITH HIS MOM AND OR HIS GIRL SANDRA [M PLANNING A SHOW DEDICATED TO MY FRIEND AT THE JAMES L KNIGHT CENTER NEXT YEAR YOU CAN REACH ME AT eston.anderson@yahoo.com

Guest
Guest

this person must be white

Guest
Guest

that must be in your dreams. wake up man. America is separated country with each group only for themselves. that is reality!!!

guest
guest

and why would Cubans want to kill black men? when half of Cuba's population are African descendents

Terri UrbanaSpeakz Meredith
Terri UrbanaSpeakz Meredith

indeed it is. his body of work is an amazing thing to feel. i'm blessed to have the opportunity to do so, blessed to know the man who created it.

rickscottblows
rickscottblows

Easy to get rid of Cubans. Start unlocking your outboards and rigging them to explode.

yokolee
yokolee

I set up a Facebook profile where I can post my pictures, videos and events and I want to add you as a friend so you can see it. First, you need to join Facebook! Once you join, you can also create your own profile. Thanks,Adela

To sign up for Facebook, follow the link below: http://www.facebook.com/p.php?... Already have an account? Add this email address to your account: http://www.facebook.com/merge_... =======================================This message was sent to If you don't want to receive these emails from Facebook in the future, please follow the link below to unsubscribe. http://www.facebook.com/o.php?... Facebook, Inc. Attention: Department 415 P.O Box 10005 Palo Alto CA 94303

 
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