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  •  The EvO:R Street Journal

    The EvO:R Street Journal
    Editorial statement
    Dedicated to the culture, business and interests of the indie artist. EVJ delivers controversial points of view, hard-news commentary, Industry Insites, artistic prose and photography and welcomes responses (pro or con), feedback and topic suggestions from readers. If you would like to submit an opinionated article, inspired poem, photo or essay to EVJ, forward all copy to Editor ESJ and put To the Editor in the subject field.

    The Lesson We Learn From Dying Young
    By Yasmin Shiraz

    Gerald Levert passes at the tender age of 40. There is a lesson in here for all of us.

    Gerald Levert, singer, songwriter and producer: born Philadelphia 13 July 1966; (three children); died Cleveland, Ohio 10 November 2006. Gerald was a member of the 90's R&B group, Levert; a member of LSG with bandmembers Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill and of course, recognized as a powerful solo artist. He was the son of O'Jay's singer, Eddie Levert.

    Having sold millions of records and having built a fanbase worldwide, many are left wondering why Gerald, why at such a young age? But it is not his youth that should be our focus, but our own lives.

    It is always death that makes me appreciate life so much. What did I do today to show God or to show myself that I am happy to be here? Did I quarrel with some friends? Did I gossip about some unnecessary mess? Did I sleep too long, thinking that next week was promised?

    Whenever I pick up a newspaper, I often find myself reading the obituaries. I read about people’s lives. What did they do? Did they accomplish anything? Did they create fond memories with family members? Will they be missed? Was their life cut short, too short? Did they lead a long, full life? Are people glad that they are gone? I ask myself all types of questions while I’m reading. I guess I’m drawn to obituaries because it reminds me that no one knows how long they have to be here. No one knows. No one knows if they’ll live to 15 or 50. No one knows if they have until tomorrow to make a change. No one knows if they’ll have another day to apologize to their mother, to make up for lost time with their father, or to tell their brother that they forgive him. No one knows, but most of us continue to take chances.

    We take chances hoping that we’ll be given another day --given another day to procrastinate, another day to not do what we’re supposed to do. We want another day to be angry, another day to playa-hate, another day of self-loathing, another day of someone else defining our joy. But when another day doesn’t come, what happens then?

    Imagine yourself lying in bed. You’re totally relaxed. You inhale deeply, but realize that your heart has stopped beating. There is no air to fill your lungs. You have raised your right hand to your chest. You have formed a fist, hoping that your heart will jumpstart again. But it doesn’t. Your eyes are open and glassed over as death becomes you. In those final seconds that your brain continues to transmit thoughts, what are you thinking? Did you miss telling someone that you loved them? Did you miss too many of your child’s important days? Did you forget your dreams while you became the wife, the girlfriend, the husband, the boyfriend, the mother, the sister, or the daughter? Who did you forget to apologize to? Did you allow someone to make you a prisoner in your own life, when now you can see that God wanted you to be free? What are those images that your brain is flashing before your eyes? Do you like what you see?

    I dedicate this writing to people like Gerald Levert, Aaliyah, Florence Griffith Joyner, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Leslie Pitts and so many others who died younger than I would have ever imagined. In their deaths, there is a lesson for all of us. In our own lives, do we like what we see?

    Youth Expert whose been featured in CosmoGirl Magazine, Teen People Magazine, Essence magazine, Upscale Magazine; Author of The Blueprint for My Girls: How To Build A Life Full of Courage Determination & Self Love, and a youth program specialist who conducts self-esteem, body image workshops for teen girls. Her website is Her email is


    ESJ is looking for writers/poets for our next issues. All work is appreciated and will be published (with the exception of articles containing racism, bigotry or other demeaning topics) Also, this is a PG-13 rating and will be censored if you do not edit it. Please e-mail The EvO:R Street Journal.
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