September, 13 – Volume 14, #9
“They Reminisce over You”
“When the lights shut off and it’s my turn to settle down, My main concern, promise that you will sing about me.” – Kendrick Lamar, Sing About Me-
“Never be another, he was my brother, Trouble T-Roy” –Pete Rock, T.R.O.Y.
Mustering the words to describe both my personal, and the collective, sentiment over the Trayvon Martin verdict was as arduous of a task as I have ever undertaken. That verdict broke my heart and left my spirit beaten down like it hadn’t been in quite some time.
That pales in comparison to my struggle in composing this month’s Noyzes which is dedicated to the memory and the life of my good friend, brother and business partner Troy Mackey.
Troy left us well too soon on July 31 of this year. This was one of the more surreal days of my life.
Almost a month later I’m still in a state of shock over Troy’s passing. Troy seemed invincible, after all. He was the type of dude that you just assumed was gone live forever. I rarely remember Troy being sick and the only time I ever saw him hurt was following the only 10 minutes that he ever stepped on the basketball court with me. That afternoon Troy nearly broke every bone in his body before ultimately being sidelined by an ankle injury. Troy was as comfortable on the basketball court as I am under the hood of a car.
But where Troy was comfortable was in his own skin. Troy was one of the precious few among us who not only knew exactly who he was, but was at peace with that.
More of us could find this peace if we possessed as many outstanding traits as Troy did.
Troy Mackey was loyal to his friends and family. He wasn’t at ease unless those around him were as well. Troy was consistent. Troy’s word was his bond. He was smart. He was funny. He was a psychotically hard worker. Troy would go the extra mile. He was a good listener. He was resourceful as hell. He was protective of his loved ones. He was pragmatic. He was humble. He had no problem acknowledging his shortcomings and worked hard to master them – and everything else that he put his mind to. Troy was open-minded. He was reliable. He was honest. He had some good weed. He had good manners. He made everyone that he spent extended time with a better person.
My stature was diminished significantly when Troy took in his last breaths a few weeks back.
I was introduced to Troy through business 13 summers ago when he literally bought into the vision that we had for this company even more than those who had witnessed its genesis up close. It didn’t take very long for Troy to become much more than a business partner. Troy became not just one of my closest friends in the world, he became family. Through some of my greatest victories and most bitter defeats, Troy was at my side. But make no mistake, 10,000 men couldn’t replace what he has brought to our company. Troy had no vanity in him at all so he absolutely abhorred the spotlight, preferring instead to make his contributions quietly behind the scenes. But none of that surface-level shit is possible without Troy Mackey. It was Troy who built a presidential podium with his bare hands (just as he did most of the furniture in my home) for our first skit on Noyzemakers. I didn’t ask Troy to do this, but it was important to him that the company put on a good public face. It was Troy, and not me, who took months full of classes on his off days from his full-time gig to learn the production techniques that allowed my aesthetic and professional blemishes to be better concealed on the show. It was Troy who steered the wheel many times when I was away pursuing some of my individual interests in Champaign, Illinois, the District of Columbia, Cape Town, South Africa or Charlotte, North Carolina. After being terribly skeptical about Troy’s ability to endure my abrasive management style, it was Troy that was the last man standing when everyone else abandoned me in this mission. It was Troy whose infectious spirit and unwavering optimism defined this company during the many times that my knees buckled privately. His contributions to Illanoyze are absolutely immeasurable.
Troy’s actions in the company mirrored how he lived his life. He wasn’t one person when working with Illanoyze and someone else in his personal life. Troy Mackey was truly a good dude all the time. He wasn’t good because it was good for business. He wasn’t good because he was afraid that God or Santa Claus would punish him if he wasn’t. He wasn’t good because he wanted everybody to talk about how good he was. He was good because that’s just who he was. A tear or two might be shed over me when I inevitably pass out of this life, but while I haven’t made many enemies, it won’t take very long to recall some of my darker moments or two, or fifteen. And this will be from the people who love me. But you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who has anything bad to say about Troy. He was a one of a kind great guy. Worse than the deficit that his void creates in Illanoyze, it is hard to see who on the planet will pick up the weight of good will that evaporated into the atmosphere with Troy’s passing.
It doesn’t take much for me to be selfish. And I ache over losing my big brother, my protector and confidant. But what I lament more than my own personal lost is what the world has lost in losing Troy Mackey. There are a whole lot of motherfuckers on this third rock from the sun that are just taking up space. More yet who are actively and routinely bringing negative energy to the world. Troy was someone who made this planet a better place. There have been clichéd attempts at easing my personal pain with notions like God needed Troy. But God needs little from us. He (or she) is God after all. Good people with godly spirits have affected a lot of positive change in this world. There isn’t a time in the history of the planet where such people were so desperately needed. To have one of God’s shepherds removed from the battle seems hard to reconcile. I trust that God has his reasons but I’m not sure I ever will fully comprehend them. This world needs more people like Troy, not less.
In spite of my questions, my faith is still strong. Having had the pleasure of knowing a righteous dude like Troy Mackey is living proof that there is a God.
I still believe in God. But I don’t believe in heaven. But whether there’s a heaven or not, Troy Mackey will absolutely live forever. That’s if I have anything to say about it. Troy is so valuable to Illanoyze that my first thoughts as it related to business; upon learning of his death, was that I was going to have to shut down the company. That’s just how vital Troy has been to everything that we do. But Troy would hate me if I closed up shop with us still having so much work left to do. If there are ghosts, Troy would surely haunt me from the grave if I did such a thing. And he’d probably haunt me by doing something particularly cruel like smoking all my weed or something. That’s because the only thing that he loved more than his company was his adolescent son and his loving wife, Andrea; who is officially the world’s strongest woman after seeing how she’s handled the loss of this giant of a man. Troy and I talked at length about how the primary purpose of our company was to have some infrastructure that he could leave for his son, Troy. Too often in the black community the only thing we leave our children is our debt. Troy wanted more for his son. It was for Troy, Jr. that he would sit with me until 3 or 4 in the morning editing a show to make sure that it was perfect. It was for little Troy that his father would put off repairs on his car so that Illanoyze wouldn’t do without. It was for his son that Troy endured my impatience and impetuousness. To fully abandon this mission would be a ghastly betrayal to Troy and the principles that he lived his life by.
Presently however I’m still sorting through the loss of my brother too much to give very much attention to where Illanoyze will go as a company. I ain’t got the strength that Troy’s wife and mother have shown. A nigga has been going through a straight thing in the weeks since Troy passed. So the only thing that I know for sure right now is that both personally and professionally, I’m going to do my earnest to live up to the great example that Troy set for everyone he came in contact with.
I’m going to take huge joy out of even the smallest moments a lot more. I’m going to appreciate my family and friends more than I do. Silly, arrogant mortals that we are, we all take for granted that we’re going to have more time. “I’ll call my sister next week,” we think. “I know I missed going out for drinks with the fellas this time but I’ll get up with them next month.” And then we wake up one day like I did on the morning of July 31 and find out that there is no next time. If there are people in your life that are important to you, tell them you love them today. Don’t send them a text, don’t post it on fuckin’ Facebook. Don’t send out a lame ass tweet. Tell them in the flesh. While you can.
I’ve been so fucking busy this summer. Writing. Editing. Re-writing. Doing research. Reconstructing the Illanoyze business plan. Playing out a season with the Bulls in NBA2K. I had been planning to take the time to tell Troy how grateful I was for his friendship and his dependability through the roughest time of my life in 2010-11. A time of my life where I literally could count on one hand (and without using my extra finger) the people in my life that I could count on. Without cats like Troy I wouldn’t have made it here, to the other side of that crisis. But I ran out of time and I didn’t get a chance to tell Troy just how important he was to my recovery. His widow assured me that Troy knew this but I’ll still never forgive myself for not making time to guarantee that he knew it.
I’m not going to allow that to happen again in any relationships going forward because if someone in Troy’s condition can’t make it to see tomorrow then all of us are living moment to moment. I’m going to honor Troy by literally getting my hands dirty more. I’m going to try and be more patient and attempt to laugh away the stress more frequently. And if I’m lucky I hope I can go out like my man, Troy, did: prepped to get some pussy with some weed at his side.
Rest in peace, Troy. I love you. I will make sure that they sing about you and reminisce over you indeed, my brotha. There will truly never be another.
Peace and God bless,