Monday, June 14, 2021

Mohammed Mubarak: A Dark Day in LA

Kobe Bryant - GettyImages

*I always like to remind myself and others that as we continue to move forward in our everyday lives that it’s very important “brace yourself” for what’s next. And that’s because you never know what God’s plan is and tomorrow is not promised to you. So as I woke up yesterday morning I was anticipating and looking forward to going over to the Staples Center where the 2020 Grammys were set to take place later on in the afternoon.

I knew that they were planning to do a special tribute to Nipsey and I had planned to take my latest masterpiece that I recently did of him and hopefully display it somewhere out there so the world could see it. So I said my prayers before I set out on my journey and just believed that God was going to watch over me a remove every stumbling block that would get in my way. And as I drove down the street I was listening KNX1070 News Radio when they announced in a bulletin that there was a helicopter that had crashed on a hillside in the area of Calabasas and that they would give out further details as soon as they were provided.

So as I finally arrived downtown the very first thing that I noticed was that the area was cordoned off by LAPD officers and they had checkpoints everywhere and if you didn’t have the proper credentials or tickets you were not going to get through. I as circled the block attempting to find a place to park and post up more updates were coming in on the news but still no info on what actually took place.

I noticed that it was indeed very cloudy and overcast and in making my third circle around the block about thirty minutes later at exactly 10:25 there was another bulletin with TMZ announcing that Kobe Bryant and four others were fatally killed in this air crash in the hills of Calabasas. And one of the first things that I noticed was everywhere I looked people were beginning to look at their cell phones and you could tell that the news was spreading fast and that’s when the day began to turn dark.


From that point on folks, I just felt so sick that I couldn’t eat the food that I bought on the way there and when I finally found a place to park in the front of the Ritz Carlton I just sat in the van and was glued literally to the radio for about an hour and just cried like my momma died. And what made things even worst was when they announced that his daughter died with him. When I heard on the radio that everyone that I saw passing by me while I was sitting in the van, were headed towards the Staples Center I decided to get out and join the pilgrimage there and what a sight it was. A sea of humanity all assembled out in the plaza in front of the Microsoft Theatre in a deafening silence paying tribute to the victims of this awful accident.

I remember when President John F Kennedy was assassinated and what I was doing when my elementary school teacher told us that he was killed and that we would be excused from school for the rest of the day. And for the next four days, it seemed like everything stopped and was closed. America was glued to the three networks NBC, CBS, and ABC throughout that whole weekend. That’s what this felt like folks, to lose an American icon like Kobe Bryant who no matter what they say about him was more beloved than hated in this town. And as tributes from all around the world continue to come in you can’t help to think about what his wife and kids, as well as the other victims’ families, are going through.

This tragic event no doubt has to be a reminder to all of us, that tomorrow is not promised to any of us and that it is all too important for us to appreciate every breath of air we breath and every moment that we’re here, and to try to treat people right and attempt to accomplish as much as we can while we can.

And finally folks, my thoughts and prayers are with Kobe’s family including his father Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant and his dear mother. And all those who’s souls were lost with him may Allah bless them all with peace in paradise.

mohammed mubarak at UCLA
Original LA Black Panthers member Mohammed Mubarak speaks at UCLA (0119-18)

Southern California based Mohammed Mubarak, a portrait artist as well, can be contacted at for your comments.




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