Young Dolph was a beacon of hope for children living in one of Memphis’ most difficult and disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The children who turned to him cried, the community is still in shock and his loss is similar to the loss of Muhammad Ali, residents and community leaders told The Sun in exclusive interviews.
“Our kids are literally in tears. Their hero is gone,” said Jonathan Torres, CEO of a nonprofit Memphis Athletic Ministries.
Memphis Athletic Ministries worked with Young Dolph to distribute turkeys to families “who otherwise wouldn’t have a vacation,” Torres said.
Before young Dolph was a household name in the hip hop world, he was selling mixtapes in the trunk of his car and at convenience stores in Memphis’s Castalia neighborhood, his 7th grade geography teacher Michael Bates told The Sun .
“It’s a tough neighborhood, and for the kids he was their Muhammad Ali. That’s the impact he had,” Bates said.
“It’s hard to lose an icon. Our city is still in shock,” he said two days after Young Dolph, real name Adolph Robert Thornton Jr, was shot dead at Makeda’s Cookies on Wednesday.
“I just want everyone to understand that someone took away a picture for people who want to do better,” Bates told The Sun.
“As a society, if you take these images away, what are we left with? The world has lost a national icon, but for teachers we have lost a beloved student.”
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