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By: David Dennis, Jr.
McKinley Phipps is sitting on the couch in the living room of his Uptown New Orleans house. The skinny 44-year-old with a salt-and-pepper goatee, gray sweatpants and a black T-shirt is listening to “I Get Physical” from Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth’s 1994 album The Main Ingredient on his smart TV.
In an hour, his manager is coming over to help fix a toilet and take him to his weekly meeting with his parole officer. Afterward, Phipps will fiddle with the first iPhone he’s ever owned and try to coordinate picking up his teenage stepdaughters from summer school. Then he’ll go to the studio to work on the music that will reintroduce him to the world. That session will get cut short to make sure he’s home for his mandatory 9 o’clock curfew.
This is the new normal for McKinley “Mac” Phipps, the gold-selling former No Limit Records artist. The Camouflage Assassin. The “down south Nas.” And the man who just got home after spending 21 years in prison for a murder Mac says he didn’t commit.
Phipps really didn’t want to perform on the night of Feb. 20, 2000. The 22-year-old had just returned from doing shows in Mississippi and was about to embark on another tour. He was scheduled to perform at a hole-in-the-wall venue, Club Mercedes in Slidell, Louisiana, about 90 minutes east of where he was living in Baton Rouge. Mac was asleep when his dad, Phipps Sr., came to get him to go to the show.
“I think about that moment all the time,” Phipps Sr. said. “I remember him sleeping and thinking ‘I could just let him sleep.’ I felt so guilty about waking him up.”
When Phipps woke up, he decided to go ahead and perform. After all, he owed it to his fans. And there were plenty of them.
Mac, or “Lil Mac,” as he was known as a kid, was a New Orleans rap prodigy and one of hip-hop’s first child stars. A product of the Broadmoor neighborhood in Uptown, Mac started writing rhymes in the ’80s, battling other kids and adults in the neighborhood. Victory at a local talent show landed him a deal with Yo! Records, where at the age of 13 he’d release his album The Lyrical Midget, produced by then-relatively unknown Mannie Fresh in 1990.
By the late ’90s, New Orleans was becoming the unlikely rap capital of the world, thanks to the business acumen of Master P and his No Limit Records roster of Mia X, C-Murder, Mystikal and the California transplant Snoop Dogg. Master P was scooping up talent across the city and Mac was a top free agent. By 1996, he was an official member of No Limit Records, the hottest label in America.
Artistically, though, the move didn’t make a lot of sense. The rapper was raised on Rakim (“He was my first professor,” Mac says) and sounded like a New York transplant, layering complex rhyme patterns to tell everyman stories about growing up in New Orleans. Mac’s flow, cadence and subject matter earned him an unofficial nickname from his fans: “Down south Nas” or “New Orleans Nas,” a comparison to the Queensbridge MC known for his classic Illmatic album.
Mac’s debut album for No Limit, 1998’s Shell Shocked, presented a shift to an MC that fell more in line with the label’s street-influenced music highlighting gun violence, drug use and misogyny. And it was a success. The album debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard charts, peaked at No. 4 and went gold. It looked like Mac could be the future of the label.
One day, Mac went to the tiny house in New Orleans where his parents and younger siblings Chad, Tiffany, Tybra, Jeremy and Joshua lived, and drove them to Baton Rouge, where many of the No Limit rappers were staying. He showed his siblings a house with a pool in the back and let them shoot hoops on the basketball court and play the NBA Hangtime arcade game.
“Y’all like this house?” Mac asked. His siblings roared in approval. “Well, we living here now.”
But by 2000, Mac had grown frustrated with his No Limit deal, disappointed by the performance of his second album, World War III. He wanted to get back to the music he loved before he joined and launch his own label with his family as his prime helpers. That’s why on the night of the Club Mercedes show, his mother was working the door and his dad and Chad were inside to make sure things ran smoothly. They kissed the younger kids goodbye and went to the show that changed everything.
According to witnesses, a fight broke out on the dance floor during the show. In the midst of the fight, a gunshot was heard, prompting people to run to the exits, but Mac says he stayed behind to look for his mother. Many who weren’t close to the fracas said they weren’t sure the noise they heard was an actual gunshot or a gunshot sound effect from the No Limit music the DJ was playing. Mac, who says he didn’t see the fight start, pulled out a gun he kept for self-defense. (“Man, we in New Orleans, s— happens. The gun was for protection.”) Though he says he never fired the gun, witnesses saw him holding it and pointing it toward the ceiling.
When Mac found out his mother was already outside, he and most of his crew left. His dad stayed behind, though, and saw 19-year-old Barron Victor Jr. on the ground, bleeding. He’d been shot in the arm. A nursing student was tending to the wound. She told Phipps Sr. that Victor would be fine, so he left, too, trailing behind Mac and the rest on the way to Baton Rouge.
Back at the house, everyone was buzzing about what had happened: We gotta get to better venues. What were they even fighting about? We can’t keep doing these kinds of shows. All they knew was that a fight broke out and someone had gotten shot.
When Phipps Sr. arrived home, he quickly got ready for bed, putting on his pajama pants. But before he could get his top on, he noticed a commotion outside. He walked out to see three police officers with guns drawn, yelling at him to get on his knees.
“W-what’s going on, officers?”
“We’re looking for Mac! He’s under arrest for murder!”
It’s a couple of weeks after Mac’s June 22 release from prison and he’s still not quite sure how it feels to be free.
“The weird thing is I don’t really know how that’s supposed to feel because I really don’t have nothing to compare it to,” he said. “Because I’ve been away for so long that it’s hard to actually remember the feeling of not being incarcerated.”
After all, what is freedom to a man who spent his 20s and 30s locked away and who won’t know life without seeing a parole officer until he’s in his 50s? What is freedom when half of your life has been spent in facilities constructed to eradicate the things that make us the most human? When your body is outside but still feels the echoes of when it was shackled?
When Mac wakes up, the first thing he does is clean the house because he is used to getting up in the morning and doing mandatory chores. It feels odd to go a full day without having to line up for a head count. Recently, he recoiled when his wife, Angelique, suggested they buy some ramen because he ate so much of it while locked up.
He’s also adjusting to a hometown that looks vastly different from the one he knew. Maybe no place in America has changed more in the past two decades than New Orleans, where 250,000 people were displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and is gentrifying more intensely than just about any other city in the country.
Just grabbing breakfast at Starbucks is a new feeling and Mac gazes in awe at a shopping center with a T.J. Maxx and a PetSmart that sits between his Broadmoor neighborhood and the Magnolia projects. White people are riding their bikes through parts of town that were previously some of the most dangerous in the city.
But one thing has always been true about New Orleans: no matter how much it changes, the people give it soul. And the people of New Orleans treat Mac like a returning hero. He got a standing ovation from two guys who picked up his trash. The woman at the front office wanted a selfie when he picked up his girls from school. A guy congratulated Mac on his release when he went to get his COVID-19 vaccine. They don’t ask when the music is coming or what’s next. They’re just happy he’s back.
As much as Mac cherishes the homecoming, it’s also part of what made his last few weeks overwhelming. To help keep himself centered, he and Angelique start every morning with a five-mile walk down St. Charles Avenue, ogling the mansions and chuckling at the irony of Mac wanting a fenced-in yard. They cut through Audubon Park to take in the Spanish moss dangling from the trees, dogs catching Frisbees on the lawn and the breeze off the lake.
“When I was in prison, I always thought about just being able to walk around the city,” Mac said while walking down a trail at Audubon. “So, yeah, I guess I feel free out here.”
But “free” is a fleeting concept when you’re still locked in the criminal justice system.
Mac has to abide by a curfew through the rest of his sentence, nine more years, which obligates him to stay within a few feet of his home at night. He can’t be in bars or clubs. He got permission to attend a friend’s wedding that started at 8 p.m. but he’s still trying to get answers from his parole officer about what happens if he’s booked for a performance. Can he travel for a show? It’s easy to get frustrated by the bureaucracy. But Mac handles it with a seemingly unbreakable optimism.
“Hey, at least I’m not getting head-counted anymore,” he said. “I’ll take what I can get.”
Mac sat in the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s interrogation room bewildered. He was being questioned about a shooting he wasn’t even sure had happened until he’d already left Club Mercedes.
He wanted to get out of that interrogation room as fast as he could. So, before he even had a lawyer present, he lied, telling detectives that he didn’t have a gun on him. His main concern was a concealed weapons charge.
Murder never crossed his mind.
“I was so confident that I was getting out of jail because I felt whoever got shot was living,” he remembered. “He was going to wake up and be able to tell them who shot him. So, I figure I’m going home.”
Mac’s plan fell apart when a detective informed him that the bullet that hit Victor in the arm, traveled into his chest and killed him. Realizing that he was now facing a murder charge, Mac fessed up that he did have a gun. Now, his plan was to invite the police back to his home so he could show them his gun. They’d see a bullet was never discharged and it would prove his innocence.
The police returned to the Phipps family home in Baton Rouge with Mac in handcuffs.
He led them to his room, where Mac says they saw the gun was still fully loaded and had not been discharged. That wasn’t enough for the police. “They came up with this story that I must have had another weapon that I threw out of the car or something,” Mac recalled.
The police proceeded to tear through the house looking for a murder weapon, the family recalled. They tossed Tybra’s and Tiffany’s clothes out of their drawers. Joshua, who was 8, worried the cops would accidentally let his gerbils out of their cages. Jeremy, who was 10, remembers the shame of watching his school bus drive by, his classmates pointing at the cop cars. The police gathered all of the siblings and started to question them until an aunt pressed them to stop. Tybra remembers wondering who was going to clean up the mess. Then all the kids watched while Mac got walked out of the house in cuffs, his mother screaming that he was innocent.
The door closed behind Mac and the police. No murder weapon was ever found. But it would be the last time the family would see him outside of prison or a courtroom for 21 years.
Here’s what we don’t consider about the suddenness of incarceration. There’s rarely time to prepare. One day someone is home. The next they’re not. Leftovers stay in the fridge uneaten. Clothes stay in the washer. His parents had to clean out Mac’s apartment, crying and trying not to consider the worst. Everyone was looking for ways to prove Mac didn’t have anything to do with Victor’s death.
After a few days, Phipps Sr. started hearing rumors out of the Broadmoor neighborhood that someone was bragging about killing Victor.
Thomas Williams, 36 at the time, had been a friend of the family and was engaged to Mac’s aunt, and had two kids with her. He helped out with security for Mac’s shows. And now, he was supposedly telling people he committed the shooting that put Mac in prison. Phipps Sr. arranged to meet Williams outside of a gas station.
“You’ve got to do what’s right, man,” Phipps told him. “What if this was your son?”
Williams told Phipps Sr. that he would confess, but he was scared. He disappeared for a few days until his conscience took over. So, with his pastor on hand, Williams went to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and confessed. In his videotaped statement, he said Barron was “charging at me with a beer bottle,” causing him to panic and shoot in self-defense.
But the St. Tammany police never charged him for the killing or searched his place for the murder weapon, even after he was arrested for an unrelated firearms offense six months later.
“When they let [Williams] go, that’s when I realized these people are going to arrest and give Mac that charge,” said Sheila Phipps, Mac’s mother. “That’s when I really realized that he’s not coming home.”
Here’s what you need to know about St. Tammany Parish: “St. Slammany” has a reputation for the zeal with which former District Attorney Walter Reed pursued cases, its high conviction rates, and law enforcement’s propensity for roughing up Black folks. (Reed was convicted of federal fraud and corruption charges in 2016 and is currently serving the remainder of a four-year sentence at home.)
And Mac wasn’t just any Black person. He was part of a No Limit group helmed by a brash, young millionaire in Master P who had bought up mansions in Baton Rouge’s most exclusive neighborhood. That put a target on his back.
Mac has a slightly more optimistic take on the situation: “I don’t think that I was targeted because I was Black, per se. I like to think that people are not that shallow. But I do believe that everyone is prejudiced. Here’s an African American gangster rapper from New Orleans out here in our town, and this happened. Somebody’s got to pay for what happened. And a lot of the times, it’s going to be the wrong person.”
During his trial, prosecutors harped on Mac’s rap nickname, “The Camouflage Assassin.” They misquoted lyrics, splicing lines from two separate songs to say “Murder murder, kill, kill, you f— with me you get a bullet in your brain,” that painted Mac as someone who promoted killing. They laid out all the guns they found at Mac’s house in front of the jury without mentioning that they belonged to his father, a Vietnam veteran whose job during the war was loading weapons.
The prosecution also cast doubt on Williams’ confession, portraying him as a loyal member of the entourage who was willing to take the prison sentence for the bigger rap star. They also used the fact that Williams recalled being “six to 10 feet” away from Victor when he shot him and evidence that the gunshot was fired at close range to dismiss his confession. He was never called as a witness and later pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice because his statement contradicted the coroner’s report.
“The DA did a damn good, but devious job,” Mac said. “He had me on trial and even though I didn’t have a criminal history or anything, he managed to convince these jurors that I was a monster.”
Still, neither Mac nor anyone in his family thought he would get convicted. He’d hired the best lawyers he could, one of whom, Jason Williams, is currently the district attorney in New Orleans. Witnesses had contradicted each other.
There was no forensic evidence tying Mac to the killing.
Then the verdict came: guilty of manslaughter by a 10-2 vote. Louisiana was one of two states to allow non-unanimous verdicts in criminal trials in 2001, a law that the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional last year.
“I believe that their verdict was based on trying to appease all parties involved,” Mac says now. “The D.A. get his conviction, the family get their justice, and this young man don’t get thrown away for the rest of his life.”
A few weeks later, Mac was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The night of his sentencing, he cried himself to sleep.
And he thought about his son.
McKinley Taquan Green was born three months after Mac first went to jail while he was awaiting trial.
“I was in a cell,” Mac remembered. “But I was excited. … I was just so happy and I thought I’d see him soon.”
For 21 years, though, Mac and Green only talked when Mac was able to call from prison or Green was able to visit him there.
Green has spent much of his life on the rough side of Baton Rouge, while watching other rappers’ kids live off the earnings of their parents’ fame. By the time Green was a kid, his father’s No Limit money had mostly evaporated due to legal fees and debts from purchases Mac made before he went to prison – the type of spending one does when he figures he has a long, successful career ahead of him.
“Sometimes I’d be like, ‘Dang I should be rich right now,’ ” Green said. “Maybe I’d be in Hollywood or gone to a private school or something. But I guess God had another plan in life.”
A week after Mac got out of prison, father and son walked to get doughnuts. It was the first time they had spent time alone, just the two of them without guards or glass or time constraints.
“I was in my feelings a bit,” Green said to me later on Mac’s front porch. Green’s cousin had just been gunned down. “I was just realizing how short life is, like, one day you’re here, one day you’re not. I was just ranting to my dad, face to face.”
Like his dad, Green is a rapper. But he sounds more like the popular Baton Rouge sound of NBA YoungBoy with all the trappings of street life. “I talk about pain. I talk about growing up without my daddy. Poverty, struggle, violence, so an environment I came from, that’s really all I know.”
Mac and Green are trying to mend a relationship that neither of them broke.
“He’s a good kid,” Mac said. “He’s just been through a lot. I think subconsciously he blames me for not being there. We’ve got a lot to work through.”
One day, Green and a couple of his friends join Mac, Chad and some other men for pickup basketball. It takes just a matter of seconds before everyone’s talking trash. Chad talks about how he can kick everyone’s butt even though he hasn’t played in years. Mac says he’s still got it and Green rags him about how he must have played soft rules in jail. The first couple of games of 21 are brutal. No one can make a shot. Everyone is sore and out of breath.
Then the guys decide to play teams. Green hits the first shot to call captain, so he can pick who’s on his squad, a brief moment where he’s king of the gym.
“Ay, I got my daddy first. We ’bout to run y’all off the court.”
Mac’s prison stories come and go through the course of the day. The guys who were obsessed with Days of Our Lives and the one old head who would say “You keep watching them stories enough, you gonna be a story.”
The time he was in north Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina and the prisons sent up a bunch of incarcerated men from Orleans and Jefferson parishes who had beefs with each other. The head of security asked Mac to calm everyone down, so he and two friends bought almost a hundred cigarettes to pass around and ease everyone’s nerves.
There were constant arguments over LeBron James vs. Mac’s favorite player, Stephen Curry, and the way their Finals battles had the sports fans at Elayn Hunt Correctional in a frenzy. There was the guy who held his intestines in his hand after being stabbed 11 times. The way Mac hated sleeping so close to the other men in the large rooms at Hunt. The four months of work-release at a shipyard where he spent 10 hours a day as a “yard slave” as he describes it: hanging off the side of a ship painting, or at the bottom of a ship watching to make sure the welders didn’t start a fire. The $10 an hour he earned before the state took 64% of it.
He remembers how he felt like he needed a knife at Winn Correctional Center, but Elayn Hunt was safer. How the week he spent at Angola made him feel hopeless. The fan mail. The music he wrote. The music he wished he could be making. The way he wanted to see his brothers and sisters and parents.
Mac went all 21 years in prison without a single write-up or reprimand. “They made me look like a monster in that courtroom and I told myself I couldn’t convince those 12 people I was innocent, so I’d convince 12 million people I’m innocent by my actions.” He took to mentoring young men with the same passion he had for music, running classes to help young men cope with anger, depression and other emotional trauma.
Mac was also part of Elayn Hunt’s music crew, performing cover songs, remixing his old hits and occasionally making music of his own. Mac went into prison as a rapper, and came out as a more complete musician. When the piano player was transferred to another prison, he learned to play the piano. When the bass player also got moved, Mac picked up that instrument as well.
One day in 2012, administrators at Hunt invited Mac to perform for the other men in the facility.
It wasn’t anything unusual. But this time the show opened with an announcement. Someone was going to get a lifetime achievement award for his service work while incarcerated. The speaker started: “This man has been mentoring young men … performing for us when we need a pickup … ”
“And I’m listening and thinking, ‘Man, this dude has done a lot,’ ” Mac said. “Then he finally said, ‘… and he’s a former No Limit Recording artist.’ And I’m just sitting there with my mouth wide-open and everyone looking at me. It’s the greatest award I’ve ever received.”
“My mindset was always to get out,” Mac said. He spent years reading through his case files looking for ways to appeal. “Being motivated by myself and my family and our hope in what would come around the corner is what kept me sane. Because I think if I would have ever just accepted the finality of being in prison, they’d have to shoot me. I would jump the fence. You know what I mean?”
In 2014, the Medill Justice Project and Louisiana State University published an investigation into Mac’s case. They found conflicting witness accounts. They talked to Mac’s best friend and manager Russell Baker, who said he was with Mac when the shots were fired but was never called to testify. In 2015, the Huffington Post published a series highlighting inconsistencies in depositions and witness accounts that could have helped Mac but were never shared with the defense.
For instance, jurors heard Nathaniel Tillison, the victim’s cousin, testify that he looked Mac “dead in his eyes” as he shot Barron. But prosecutors didn’t tell Mac’s lawyers about testimony from Jerry Price, who placed Tillison outside the club during the shooting. Yulon James, the nursing student who tended to Victor, testified that she saw sparks flying out of Mac’s gun, but later recanted that story, telling The Huffington Post that she had been threatened by St. Tammany authorities. Four other witnesses said they were intimidated into either testifying against Mac or staying silent about evidence that could free him.
The new evidence revived the family’s hopes that Mac would be exonerated. But Warren Montgomery, who was the district attorney at the time, told The Huffington Post that there was “nothing new for me to look into” in 2016. It became another in a long list of false starts – the ignored calls for retrials, the attempts to have the verdict overturned and the clemency attempt that was rejected in 2016. In 2020, NPR’s Louder Than A Riot podcast dedicated three episodes to Mac, the trial and his fight for freedom, once again bringing his story to the national stage.
Still, Mac and his family persisted, sending in another appeal for clemency. And in April, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards granted Mac clemency. In June, he was released on parole.
It’s important to note that clemency is not the same as exoneration. The punishment for a crime is lowered, but he’s still technically guilty. Without a legal exoneration, McKinley Phipps will always be the man convicted of killing Barron Victor Jr.
“Well, a decree from the state would be great,” Mac said. “It would be a stamp of saying that we agree that he was done wrong. But more importantly, I want to prove myself to the family of this young man who lost his life. And that has been one of the motivating factors in me walking the way I walk in prison, and accepting my personal responsibility in the situation. I didn’t have anything to do with this young man getting killed. I wasn’t involved in the fight that eventually led to his death. But my responsibility was, this was my event. And one of my security guards killed this young man. So in essence, I failed to adequately provide a safe environment for the patrons of this event. That was my personal responsibility. And for that, I emphatically apologize to the victim of the family.”
The two men, who Mac says never met, will forever be linked to that one night when they happened to be in the same room. Victor, who was engaged to be married, never walked out of the club. Phipps, 22 at the time, spent two decades in prison. Innocence might seem immaterial when so much has already been lost. But it’s easy to dismiss the value of innocence until it’s been taken away.
Mac’s immediate focus is figuring out what the rest of his life will look like. Of course, there’s a pull to return to music. A song called “21 Summers” includes a harmony he’s been working on for years with verses that pay tribute to everyone who helped him while he was away. Mac is still looking for the perfect beat for the song, so for now he sings it to himself while creating his own makeshift production, beating his chest and snapping his fingers. He smiles while he sings it, reciting music that’s not reliant on the pursuit of fame or album sales.
“I will say this emphatically, nobody ever told me what kind of music to do, ever,” Mac says of his No Limit music. “It just wasn’t the music that was true to me, and it was marketable and I’ve had money and that didn’t bring me fulfillment. It’s time for me to take the camouflage off and be myself.
“I don’t care if I never make a dime doing music,” he continued. “I’m gonna do it regardless. But also, I love mentoring. So, if I can get a job doing what I love to do, then I’m not really working, you know what I mean?”
Mac has started working at Son of a Saint, a nonprofit mentorship group for fatherless boys. He went there twice in the two weeks after he got out – as many times as he’d been in a recording studio.
“What y’all wanna do for a living?” he asks the boys during one visit.
One kid makes beats. “They any good? You gonna make a beat for me?” He’s not talking to them or lecturing. He’s just asking about what they want to do with their lives.
The kids, aged 12 to 19, weren’t alive when Mac went to prison. They don’t know anything about him, but they perk up when he mentions Master P and C-Murder and the No Limit crew he worked with. They start asking questions about new rappers such as J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar.
“My favorite J. Cole song is ‘Love Yourz,’ ” he says. “Because he says, ‘there’s no such thing as a life better than yours’ and that’s the truth.”
He’s 20 minutes into the conversation before he tells them: “OK, let’s get this out of the way.
I just got out of jail two weeks ago.”
“Those kids got something out of that conversation,” said Bivian “Sonny” Lee III, founder of Son of a Saint. “There are going to be a few boys who come out of this feeling connected to him.”
Mac starts to walk out of the auditorium, but he has to stop every few steps. A kid is asking a follow-up question.
Then another. They’re transfixed. Not by the No Limit legend. They want to hear from the guy who asked them about their dreams.
think the government is very crooked!” Khaliyah Pearson, Mac’s 17-year-old stepdaughter, is on the edge of her couch, her brow furrowed and her curly hair bouncing as she makes her point. She and her 15-year-old sister Nakiyah are talking about how Mac’s case has informed their thinking about criminal justice. “They show favoritism to certain people. They don’t like rappers.”
“They’re anti-Black,” Nakiyah adds, her hands clasped together and her voice getting higher. “They used McKinley’s words against him!”
For the next five minutes they’re unstoppable, a tornado and a hurricane laying out how their stepfather was wronged.
Then Khaliyah Pearson shows me a picture of her next to J. Cole from a show he did in New Orleans a couple of years ago when Mac pulled strings to get her backstage. The girls talk about the videos Mac would make for their birthdays, the teddy bears he bought and letters he wrote. How he calls them Honeybee and Butterfly.
And the day their mother told them she was dating a man in jail.
Back in 2014, Mac’s mother met with Angelique Pearson, who had moved to New Orleans from Las Vegas and had started doing public relations for artists while also helping get media attention for people in prison. Pearson agreed to meet Mac and hear his story.
The phone calls turned into visits that turned into daily conversations. Until finally, Mac asked her: “Do you think I’m attractive?”
Pearson had a policy of not dating her clients, but Mac wore her down. “Of course I found him attractive,” she said. “I was head over heels for this person, but I wasn’t going to admit it and was trying to keep it business or whatever.”
Mac and Pearson eventually created a relationship out of visitations, dropped calls and dashed hopes that he’d get out of prison soon. Then they faced the challenge of getting Pearson’s kids on board. Khaliyah and Nakiyah were in elementary and middle school, respectively, when Pearson told them she was seeing someone who was incarcerated.
“I was nervous because I wanted them to like me, and I didn’t want them to think I was the monster the courts said I was,” Mac remembered. “And this won’t work if her kids don’t like me.”
Pearson drove the girls to prison to meet her boyfriend.
“All I knew about jail was scary criminals, but everyone there was so nice,” said Nakiyah. “And once she explained to me he didn’t do it, we believed them.”
On Aug. 11, 2018, the 35th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop, Mac and Angelique had a wedding ceremony in the yard at Elayn Hunt.
Mac’s best man was his best friend, C-Murder, the fellow No Limit artist who is serving life in prison for a murder he also claims he didn’t commit.
Mac has now officially lived with the girls for a few weeks after being their stepdad behind prison walls for three years. Watching them is like watching a family who was never apart.
“I love these girls,” Mac said, smiling. “So there wasn’t even a thought in my mind about what this would be like. I was just like, ‘OK. I’m going home to be with my daughters.’”
The family gets dressed and heads out to the art studio Mac’s mother runs outside of New Orleans. It’s a small room adorned with images of activists such as John Lewis and Colin Kaepernick, as well as portraits of Mac and other men incarcerated under suspicious circumstances as part of her “Injustice Xhibition.” This is where Mac, his parents and his siblings will all be together for the first time in 21 years.
On the surface, it’s a happy reunion. Mac is the center of attention, taller than everyone else and cracking jokes. But everyone is unsure about how a reunion like this should feel.
“I’m still angry,” Joshua Phipps said. “Yeah, he’s out, but you all took 21 years of his life. Our lives could have been completely different if he wouldn’t have gone to jail. I’m ecstatic that my brother’s home, but part of me is still angry.
“I’ve had people tell me, ‘You should be happy now. It’s over.’ But he shouldn’t have been there,” Jeremy Phipps added. “I haven’t gotten over it. Him being out now doesn’t balance all that out.”
St. Slammany could have destroyed the Phipps family.
“All of our dreams felt dead,” Tybra Phipps said. “Because they wanted everything dead. I took on hard physical jobs because I wanted to avoid the reality of how weird our lives had gotten.”
Eventually the family would spread across the country. Tybra in South Carolina and Atlanta, Tiffany in New Jersey, Joshua in Florida, Chad in Boston and Los Angeles, Jeremy in L.A. Anywhere they could go to get away from what was done to them in Louisiana. Everyone but Chad is back living in the New Orleans area just in time for the family to be whole again.
“When you get your life turned upside down, what can you do other than change something?” Chad said. “It’s not necessarily running, but to change something. All of us were looking for change.”
They hope that eventually the pain will subside. That they’ll realize this isn’t an extended visit where Mac has to return to prison at the end. A few days before the reunion, Joshua called his mother to ask what time everyone was getting together and she had to remind him that he could call Mac himself. Tiffany calls Mac’s phone just because she can without waiting for a call from prison.
For now, it’s just about trying to hold on to the moment.
After an hour or so at the studio, the siblings gather in Jeremy’s apartment across the hall. He pulls out a keyboard, saxophone, bass and microphones. Each sibling grabs an instrument or a mic and they’re a makeshift band. Playing, laughing and singing. Making it up as they go along.
The Whisper Network:
Actress Loretta Young’s Son: Christopher Lewis (2nd pic).
Christopher Lewis was involved in a filmmaking scandal, while working for a company known as Lyric Productions.
He was charged with child molestation and filming and distributing child p*rnography, along with 13 other men.
Lewis and the other men were indicted with soliciting boys ranging from ages 6 to 17 to perform lewd acts in their movies.
Despite pleading "no contest" to child m*lestation charges and potentially facing a significant term of imprisonment yet Lewis was sentenced to probation and a $500 fine due to his mothers fame?
Actress Susan Cabot's dwarf son, Timothy, who was allegedly sired by King Hussein of Jordan, was given a steady stream of steroids and experimental hormones since childhood to stimulate growth, which may have led to neurological problems. Anyway, he lived with a mother whose mental health declined to the point that they lived in filth and her own psychiatrists deemed her irrationality emotionally draining. Timothy finally snapped and beat her to death with a barbell bar.
According to a Black model type:
I loved actor Hugh O’Connor, 2nd pic, (who appeared on his father's show In The Heat Of The Night).
He was a really sweet guy with a bad cocaine problem.
But he treated me like a princess, even though his father (Carroll O'Connor) couldn't stand me.
I assume he had issues with with me being the product of interracial parents although I consider myself Black.
Thanks for all of the awesome concerts we went to Hugh. And the nights we talked about everything under the sun.
I still miss you.
You were a really good guy.
See you on the other side.
**Photos of the subjects involved in the following story have been scrubbed from search engines:
Actress Helen Lawson's unfortunate daughter (Elvira) the product of an earlier tryst with a Nicaraguan sales clerk from the corner five and dime, was born with club foot and humped back.
Although Elvira was quite intelligent, she was socially awkward, nervous, and stuttered in the presence of company.
As Lawson's career took off, the glamorous stage diva became so embarrassed by her daughter that she passed her off as the help.
Ironically, Elvira's congenital defects may have been a direct results of Lawson who had a penchant for drinking dry martinis throughout her pregnancy.
Poor Elvira was in the middle of penning her memoirs, "Mother Hell," when she tripped over her clumsy feet and went crashing through a plate glass window in the shabby Mount Kisco home she once shared with her mother.
It took weeks before her body was discovered, as nobody ever came to visit.
But by then, the hungry cats had had their fill of her.
Kyle Dean Dead at 21!
Each of the stories made mention that Dean was the gay-for-pay stud of the moment.
The dead adult star story plays out every day with very little thought given to it. With Dean’s All-American good looks, he was not the average gay adult star. He played up his aww-shucks charm and came across as being accessible. Things wouldn’t end well for the hottie, but was it an accidental suicide as many have speculated or was it murder?
Most adult stars use a stage name and Dean was no different. His birth name was Brandon Jason Chrisan. Dean liked to play sports, specifically football. He also claimed to have won fourth place in an Adult Body Training competition, though there is nothing to back this claim up.
The first paid adult scene came shortly after Dean turned 18, barely legal. The setup was cliched, then irresistible jock smashes the girl. However the clip was a sensation and he booked more work, with similar themes. And then the straight adult movies stopped.
Where demand for Dean dipped in the straight world, his look played well with gay men. Even though the money may not have been the greatest, a top in gay adult movies might make $200-$300 depending on some factors, he was working steadily. His fanbase grew, and he was the object of lust for many fellas. But it wasn’t all bareback s*x and org*sms.
Like most adult stars and celebrities do, Dean began taking drugs. Nobody seems to know precisely when it began, addicts are generally pretty good at hiding it at first, but it soon became an issue. He was having trouble performing and even getting aroused. When your er*ction is the cornerstone of your career, that’s an issue. The offers for scenes dried up, and Dean was begging for money to take an Uber somewhere or asking fans to buy him things on his Amazon wishlist.
An enterprising producer realized that Dean’s bubble derrière was a gold mine. Wanting to work or needing the money, Dean agreed, and the third act of his career started. Here’s where it’s not hard to imagine that the addiction got worse. A straight guy smashing backdoor is one thing, most have imagined it at one point (even if they wanted it to be a woman’s derriere they were inside). But being smashed in the derriere is something different altogether. Even for those who like it, there could be questions about their sexu*lity and what it means to love having a stiff member up there. It’s enough to drive a person to self-medicate.
After the initial rush of press announcing he had died, the articles stopped being produced There was nothing else to report, or maybe there weren’t as many clicks on the article as editors had hoped. There’s always another twink, another jock to take his place. Yet there is something odd about all of this. Addicts die of an overdose all the time; usually, there are a few follow-up reports when someone dies. In Dean’s case, there has been nothing.
Sources have said that Dean actually died in the month of Sept. and the obituary just made its way on to the internet in October. Given the shadiness of a drug addict’s life, it should not be discounted that this young man’s life was cut short because he owed the wrong person money.
Or more menacingly, maybe he was about to come forward with his own #MeToo story. He had stopped working in the adult industry at this time, and fans have revealed that he had started an OnlyFans page (again not unusual, many adult stars do this) to keep money flowing in. This would have been the perfect time for a hunk, a male adult star to come forward with his own story of being used by producers for their own amusement. It’s not hard to imagine that someone would want to have bragging rights of saying they smashed Kyle Dean in real life. Especially an older man, whose reputation is built upon being with the youngest, hottest piece of as* around.
It may never be known what happened to Kyle Dean.
His star was on the rise when his life was cut tragically short. Questions remain, but does anyone really want the answers?
Blind Item Bonus:
According to a source, this very popular rapper is a very shady character, but it's kept under wraps because he's so successful and brings in a lot of money.
The source also alleges that it's very suspicious that this rapper seems to be friends with people who are suspected of being pedophiles and child trafficking recruiters.
And a lot of the women that he's laid down with are not too clean but he refuses to wear a condom.
And despite a lot of female fans who consider him handsome, according to our source, a few people in the medical field have said that his facial features "slightly" resemble fetal alcohol syndrome although its never been proven.
Who is he?
Dick's Burgers is a legendary monument and billionaire Bill Gates has been seen waiting in line at Dick's.
Fonda Bryant of Charlotte, North Carolina, is the daughter of famed R&B Legend Johnnie Taylor.
Bryant never had a relationship with her father.
And she only spoke to her father over the phone once as an adult.
It was later determined after a bitter lawsuit, and DNA testing after Taylor’s death, that Fonda Bryant was indeed the daughter of Johnnie Taylor in 2002.
Fast forward to 2015, and the Gaye Family estate successfully sues Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and rapper T.I. for copying Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit song, "Got To Give It Up," with their smash hit, "Blurred Lines," in 2013.
In 2015, a jury awarded Nona, Marvin III, and Frankie Gaye $7.4 Million dollars in damages for copyright infringement.
Which brings us back to Fonda Bryant. Bryant’s claim is that Gaye’s "Got To Give It Up," was inspired by Johnnie Taylor’s 1976 #1 hit "Disco Lady."
Bryant is mulling over the possibility of suing the Gaye family for damages, because Marvin Gaye acknowledged in his biography that "Disco Lady," was an influence for his song.
By: Jinsol Jung, Jenny Wagnon Courts, Tonya Simpson and Steve Osunsami
Anyone who is a fan of 1970s funk knows The Gap Band. The three musical brothers captivated fans with their records for years.
One of their biggest hits is "You Dropped a Bomb on Me."
For some time now, a rumor has swirled about the real meaning of the song.
Listeners who know the origin of the band have long suspected the song may have been written to shed a light on the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.
On May 31 and June 1, 1921, a white mob destroyed a Black neighborhood, killing families and forcing others to leave.
The Gap Band's lead singer, Charlie Wilson, said he and his brothers, Ronnie and Robert Wilson, grew up in Tulsa just a few blocks from the Greenwood District, the Black neighborhood that was destroyed in the massacre. Charlie Wilson wrote the song, and said that despite the rumors, the only bomb the song is referring to is one made of love.
But Wilson said he's very happy about the confusion the title has caused. He said the band has been trying to draw attention to the massacre since they first started singing together.
"It's bringing attention back to the race riots. I'm so happy about that," he said.
In fact, the name of the band stands for Greenwood, Archer and Pine, the streets at the entrance of the neighborhood. The Greenwood neighborhood is often referred to as "Black Wall Street," a nod to the successful Black businesses that used to line Greenwood Avenue.
Back in the day, Black businesses in the neighborhood thrived -- partly because Black customers were not allowed to purchase many goods or services in white stores.
This Black economy created a neighborhood where there were Black families who were better off than some of their white neighbors.
The early 1920s were a particularly deadly time for Black Americans who lived in similar townships and neighborhoods across the country.
According to Charlie Wilson, he and his brothers wanted the name of their band to mean something.
"We knew we were going to go all over the world -- at least I did," Charlie said with a laugh. He said they knew "we'd have to talk about that, and where the name came from."
While promoting their albums and touring in the 1980s, Wilson said he shared the story of their neighborhood and the massacre many times: "People were just kinda lookin' at us like, 'Are you sure? I've never heard this story before.'"
How the details of what happened to Greenwood have been lost in history is a key part of the neighborhood's story.
Many believe that much of the story has been intentionally suppressed. Historians have found pages missing in archives.
In the last few years, shows like HBO's "Lovecraft Country" and "Watchmen" have recreated scenes from the massacre, raising interest is the lost history and leading viewers to search for evidence that the horrifying and violent stories indeed occurred.
On the day of the massacre, an angry white mob burned 35 blocks of the wealthy Black community of Greenwood in north Tulsa to the ground.
To this day, it's not known how many people died. The Red Cross estimated it was between 55 and 300, in their 1921 report.
Experts have been searching for potential mass graves in the city from the massacre since the 1990s. In October of 2020 they discovered what they believe is a mass grave with as many as a dozen bodies of missing residents.
Wilson knows the intimate details of what happened in Greenwood nearly 100 years ago, directly from one of the survivors of the massacre -- Lucille Figures.
Wilson said Figures was like a grandmother to him. She was 12 years old at the time of the massacre and made it out alive. It was rare for her to share the story of her escape. Wilson said when she finally shared the details with him, she made him vow to keep it quiet.
"She told me a lot of things. But she made me promise, 'Don't ever speak about what I told you until I'm gone,' Wilson said. And that is exactly what he's done.
Figures died in 2013 at the age of 104. Her story is like so many others, passed down behind closed doors. Wilson understands why Figures wanted it kept quiet.
"She watched people die and getting shot. So, she was to never speak about it. They kept it quiet, so they could be would be protected in some way," said Wilson.
Wilson said he now wants to help solidify Greenwood's rightful place in American history books.
"Better late than never. Better late than never. I mean, the story needs to be told," he said.
He said he loves his hometown, and when touring, he's proud to say he's from Tulsa.
"This is the 100th year this year... Tell the truth," he said of his reason for speaking out about the massacre.
By: Steph Sutorius
“Amen” alum, former Broadway star and voiceover actress Roz Ryan revealed more about her past as a Detroit nightclub singer, how she made her mark coast to coast, and how she has learned to embrace the next phase of her career and her life during the pandemic.
Roz Ryan may have entered into many homes when she landed the role of Amelia Hetebrink on “Amen” in 1986, but this was not Ryan’s start to acting or introduction to the entertainment industry. “When I was 29, I went to New York, but I had been working for 13 years. A lot of the time people think when you go to New York, you just popped out of an egg or when you come to L.A. and do a TV show that you just dropped from Heaven.”
Ryan had been very successful as a nightclub singer in Detroit after graduating high school. She even was very closely involved with Motown. “When I was 16, my cousins Tony and Zeta Robinson, and I we entered the WCHB Talent Show at the Fox Theater and we won. And it was $500 and a contract with Motown. So, at 16 years old — I was still in high school — we turned the contract down at the advice of David Ruffin, who told me that I would get lost in the shuffle because Motown was just blowing up and they had picked all of their top people.”
During this time, being so young and in the heart of this amazing city filled with up-and-coming artists, Ryan made many wonderful connections with some of Motown’s legends. “I took the money [from the contest] and I started singing in nightclubs and makin’ more money than I ever thought I could make in my whole life…at that time. It was good education. I met so many wonderful people. I mean, I was a little girl of 17 years old when I met Sarah Vaughn. So, yeah, I mean, I was privy to a lot of entertainers like The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Spinners. Those are all like my uncles and papas.”
It was in Detroit that she found out about auditions for the show “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” “I had never auditioned for anything in my life. I mean, I was a nightclub singer. But I went, got some sheet music, and 10 days later, I was on Broadway. Yeah, it was a Cinderella slipper.”
Ryan enjoyed the combination of singing and dancing and eventually landed one of her favorite roles as Effie White in “Dreamgirls.” Ryan could relate to the character and could really connect with all of the emotions to fuel her performance. “It was basically my story coming from Detroit and being a heavy girl. Being the one with the best voice but not the one with the body that they require in performing. It has to do with the look. That was basically my life story. I had some of the same pain. some of the same rejections. Some of the same comments that were nowhere based on talent. Because the talent — God gave me that — I was aware of that. Not to be vain or to be arrogant or anything. It’s just that when I realized that…the rest of it was just a hurdle I managed to climb.”
After being a nightclub singer and a Broadway performer, yet another medium was calling for Ryan to dazzle. While Ryan was in “Dreamgirls,” she auditioned for a movie called “Jo-Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling.” She was told that they liked her but that she was too young. Carmen McRae ended up winning the role as Grandmother. However, she had made an impression on one of the top casting directors at the time: Reuben Buchanan. “He did say he would find something for me. I had left ‘Dreamgirls.’ I was coming to Florida doing a show and he called me. About a week later, I got a call to fly to California to audition for the network and for Ed Weinberger and I went to the audition and I got the show [Amen]. I don’t even know how. I called my mom…and my mom said they must have seen something in you that you don’t know. And the rest was history.”
Being on a TV show in Hollywood — jetting back and forth to her home in Florida — Ryan thrived and really began to feel what it was like to have a stable gig and she learned so much being a part of the “Amen” cast.
Ryan remembered Sherman Hemsley in particular was very jubilant and a jokester. “Sherman — I called him ‘Germ’ — he was a prankster. He was just busy. He was a kid. He was a happy kid and he played pranks, jokes.” One day on-set, Ryan called out, “Does anyone need anything?” Sherman’s response was, “Bring me an alligator.” Ryan said, “I literally went home on my break and I got a caiman alligator about yay big, put it in a cat cage and brought it back. And he was stunned. He named it Theodore and he kept it until it was about six feet long and he built a pond in his backyard and he kept it.” Ryan fit right in with the cast and crew and took what she learned from the veteran actors on the set of “Amen.”
By 1995, Ryan was quite accomplished and had never dreamed of entering the world of animation and voice-over acting. So, when she was offered to audition for Walt Disney Company, she was shocked. “Hollywood wanted Nell Carter, Patti LaBelle, Whitney, some others. They wanted five movie and television muses. Alan Menken, who wrote the music, wanted Broadway girls. He wanted pure singers. You know, actresses. He was serious about Broadway girls. He did the picking. Alice Dewey saw me in “Blues in the Night” and she sent [John] Musker and [Ron] Clements, who wrote it — ‘Hercules’ —she sent them to see the show and they saw it and they said ‘We’re going to send you to New York to see Alan Menken and if he likes you, you got the role.’ ”
Her role as Thalia in “Hercules” opened up many future opportunities. Some included animated roles on the Disney Channel. She also ended up becoming a character named Cake on the long-running animated series “Adventure Time.”
Other than this upcoming project, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan has had a bit of a slowing down in her life and her attitude toward work. “I’ve never been home this long and what this pandemic did is it allowed me to stay home to start to do some of the things that we take for granted. You know, like Disneyland is down the street and the ocean is over there…I’m always packing and leaving this place…I want to go and I want to enjoy some of the places.”
(CNN) — Private jet passengers could soon be able to travel through the air and "underwater" at the same time thanks to a unique new cabin concept.
Aircraft overhaul and maintenance specialist Lufthansa Technik has just unveiled renderings for a new cabin design (pictured above) for the Airbus Corporate Jet ACJ330 that allows those on board to "discover the world" while en route.
The "Explorer" cabin concept takes inspiration from explorer superyachts, which tend to be either purpose built, or converted, in order to ensure long-distance cruising to isolated areas of the world.
Designed to accommodate around 10 to 16 passengers, its primary purpose is to provide the most positive passenger experience possible to those on board, according to the German company.
Aside from the classic elements typically found on private jets, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and even offices and dining areas, the "Explorer" design features a projection system that can cover the interior walls and ceilings with pretty much any type of setting those on board desire, including an underwater world.
While the finer details of the cabin concept are still being ironed out, the first renderings were displayed for potential buyers at this week's Monaco Yacht Show, which runs from September 22 to 25, and received strong interest from the market, according to the team at Lufthansa Technik. The final launch of the new cabin will take place at the 2021 Dubai Airshow in November.
Although the purpose of the design is merely to present the "technical and design possibilities" of the widebody cabin to customers, Lufthansa Technik say it would take between 18 to 24 months to fully design and complete this particular concept if a buyer were to order it directly from them.
The project comes as private jets continue to soar in popularity, with Florida-based private aviation company FlyEliteJets reporting a 150% rise in bookings since the start of the pandemic and global aviation company VistaJet logging a 65% increase in demand for global flight hours across its brands since last March.
And it's not just private charter flights that are soaring -- the number of private jet owners in the world is also rapidly increasing.
Last month, the International Aircraft Dealers Association reported a 52% increase in second-quarter sales, with members selling 320 pre-owned private jets in the second quarter of 2021, up from the 211 sold in the first three months of the year.
In fact, demand is so strong that there simply aren't enough jets available for the market.
1. Anthony Johnson's family is no longer burdened with funeral costs ... thanks to the generosity of celebs like Offset.
2. Megan Thee Stallion has teamed up with Nike for a Fit Girl Fall.
3. Kanye West created a lot of hype before releasing Donda one of the most successful album releases of the year. The Chicago rapper isn’t backing down anytime soon and may drop a playlist of unreleased music.
4. 2Pac’s monumental body of work is now reimagined as house music with a Brooklyn jazz influence by award-winning producer, Jonathan Hay. But a controversial social media co-sign by Suge Knight’s son could threaten the fragile peace between rival bloodlines.
5. Jeffrey Jordan, Michael Jordan's 32-year-old son, is accused of assaulting staff at a hospital in Arizona Friday night, where he was being treated for an injury he sustained in a bar.
Here's the deal ... Jeffrey was at Casa Amigos bar in Scottsdale when he "fell and hit his head," according to police. They say Jordan then became combative with security who were attempting to escort him out of the bar to receive medical attention.
Scottsdale PD, who were in the area for an unrelated call, were summoned to assist.
TRUE CRIME SHOWCASE:
Ian David Karslake Watkins (born 30 July 1977) is a Welsh convicted s*x offender and former singer, songwriter, and musician. He achieved prominence as the co-founder, lead vocalist, and lyricist of the rock band Lostprophets.
In 2013, he was sentenced to 29 years of imprisonment for multiple s*xual offenses, including the sexual assault of young children and babies. Lostprophets disbanded shortly thereafter.
On 19 December 2012, Watkins was charged at Cardiff magistrates court with conspiracy to engage in s*xual activity with a one-year-old girl and possession and/or distribution of indecent images of children and "extreme animal p*rnography". He was remanded in custody, as were his two female co-accused. His barrister said Watkins would deny the accusations.
The South Wales Police investigation into Watkins, codenamed "Operation Globe", required the co-operation of GCHQ to decrypt a hidden drive on his laptop, which was found to contain video evidence of his abuses.
On 27 November, the day after his guilty plea had been accepted by the prosecution, Watkins referred to his sex offences as "mega lolz" in a recorded phone call to a female fan made from HM Prison Parc.
On 9 October 2017, Watkins was accused of grooming a young mother from prison. As of March 2018, he was back at Wakefield.
In March 2018, Watkins was found with a mobile phone.
He pleaded not guilty to the offense of "possession of a mobile phone in a prison", claiming other inmates were threatening and extorting him, forcing him to hide the phone.
After a five-day trial at Leeds Crown Court in August 2019, he was convicted and sentenced to an additional ten months' imprisonment.
Woo Bum-kon (or Wou Bom-kon, February 24, 1955 – April 27, 1982) was a South Korean policeman and spree killer who killed 56 people and wounded 35 others in several villages in Uiryeong County, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, during the night from April 26 to April 27, 1982, before committing suicide.
It was also the deadliest deliberate single loss of life in South Korean history until the Daegu subway fire in 2003.
The kidnapping of billionaire John Paul Getty's grandson (above) had a traumatic effect on the young Getty and likely contributed to the alcoholism and drug addiction that ravaged his life. In 1981, at the age of 25, he suffered a debilitating stroke after taking a Valium, methadone, and alcohol cocktail which caused him liver failure and a stroke, leaving him quadriplegic and partially blind. Sadly, he would die a few years later.
A Houston man was sentenced to life in prison for sex trafficking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
Jaimian Sims, 27, was convicted of conspiracy and sex trafficking after a five-day jury trial.
Sims trafficked multiple victims, according to prosecutors, and his music described the way he abused women and children for his own gain. They said Sims’ rap group was known to “waive around firearms” and large amounts of cash to glorify a lifestyle created by the sexual exploitation of women and girls.
In one instance, Sims directed La Grange resident Tabbetha Mangis, 22, to recruit a 17-year-old girl to be trafficked to a 23-year-old Houston man, Gary Shawn Haynes Jr., according to prosecutors.
The girl was taken to a large northwest Houston home briefly, investigators said, before she was taken to an Express Inn in the city, where she was given a false ID to rent a room.
Sims instructed an adult trafficking victim to give the card to the minor, prosecutors said, and told the woman to take photos of the girl to post online to solicit the sexual abuse of the 17-year-old.
The woman did what Sims told her to, she testified during the trial, because he always carried a gun and she has seen him assault other victims.
Prosecutors showed the jury rap videos in which Sims refers to running a trafficking ring and Mangis and Haynes and their roles in it. He also rapped that he sells “white women” and bragged about his success as a “pimp,” prosecutors said.
Mangis and Haynes pleaded guilty to charges related to their roles in the sex trafficking Sims directed.
Sims was ordered to pay $1,575 in restitution to the minor he trafficked and will be required to register as a sex offender.
By: Dan Solomon
He was stripping at several gay clubs in his hometown of San Antonio. One night, an older customer sidled up to the stage where the young Sylvester Stallone lookalike was gyrating in a baseball hat, sneakers and underwear.
Soon John William Snavely found himself talking to the stranger’s associate: a South Florida po•rn recruiter named Justin Caro, better known as Baileey.
Baileey was himself a former gay-porn star who now excelled at enticing young hunks from across America into similar careers. Listening to his pitch, Snavely was polite but confident, asking questions about how much money he could make in South Florida. “John knew how to sell himself,” Baileey says.
“Whether it was stripping or porn, he knew what his best attributes were.”
It would take several months of flying to San Antonio for Baileey to persuade Snavely to appear in gay p*rn. Despite dancing for men, Snavely insisted he was straight. But Baileey nonetheless saw in him the makings of a star.
“I’ve been in the business for 21 years, so I pretty much know what people are looking for,” he says. “John had a universal look: good-looking, clean-cut, white guy, no tattoos, well-endowed. That’s exactly what the industry wants.”
In the end, the offer was too tempting for Snavely — a poor kid from the wrong side of San Antonio — to ignore. He flew to Los Angeles for his first p*rn shoots. Then he moved to Fort Lauderdale, staying in what Baileey called his “model house,” a low-slung three-bedroom home in Searstown.
Snavely’s not the subject of a longform story strictly because the world of gay p•rn and how a person enters it is so compelling—though it certainly is that—but because the life that he found himself living once he got to South Florida led him to genuinely shocking and horrifying situations—of which, according to police, he was the perpetrator.
The idea that a young man enticed into the world of s•x work by the promise of easy money might lead to self-destruction isn’t surprising in itself; it’s basically the plot of Magic Mike, and all of the drugs and emotional damage that you might suspect are a part of Snavely’s story. But what the Press details goes beyond that: author Michael E. Miller describes a scam that Snavely picked up in San Antonio, when he worked as a stripper, where he’d go home with his male clients for a “private dance” for $500. The client, expecting more than a simple dance, would pay—and then the large, well-built Snavely would dance for a few minutes and leave, while the customer was unable to either call the police or physically confront the muscular dancer.
That took a much darker turn in Miami, when a 60-year-old man named Samuel Del Brocco was found dead after leaving a club at which Snavely had been dancing. Bloody sneaker prints at the scene reportedly matched Snavely’s feet, and his DNA was all over the room. It took three years for the Miami police to identify Snavely as a suspect, but he’s currently in jail awaiting trial.
The whole story is a gruesome look at a subculture that seems particularly unhealthy for someone like Snavely, whose life in San Antonio, where he lived with his brother and his frequently-arrested mom, indicates a personwho was probably not going to thrive in an environment where a lack of impulse control carried few consequences:
With their father nowhere in sight and their mom frequently in jail, John and Justin learned to fend for themselves. Police records show Justin paid the family’s bills by selling drugs, at least until his first arrest in 2001. He was sentenced to two years in prison. Without his older brother around, John took up Golden Gloves boxing. The pastime helped protect him in the poor, dusty neighborhoods of San Antonio, and also gave rise to his later reinvention as Champ.
John’s other pastime, however, was petty crime. The offenses ranged from ridiculous to absurd. When Snavely was 17 years old, security guards spotted him and friend Kevin Hullender breaking into a parked car. When the rent-a-cops chased Snavely, he dove into some bushes and took off his pants. Police soon arrested him; retrieved his pants; and discovered a screwdriver, pot and alprazolam in the pockets. Hullender had cocaine and counterfeit cash on him. Snavely was sentenced to two weeks in jail.
Two days before Christmas, Snavely and two friends spilled out of a Cadillac and onto the streets of downtown San Antonio. Snavely stopped on the side of the street to pee. When a passerby complained, Snavely whipped a collapsible baton out of his back pocket and threatened to beat the man.
Greg Hullender, whose two sons were both arrested alongside Snavely, says John simply grew up on the wrong side of what could be a rough city.
“Honestly, he’s one of the people I preferred to have my sons hang around with,” Hullender says.
“He was very intelligent. He wasn’t one of those kids who talked like he was black or whatever. He was very well-spoken.
“He was very good with his fists, too,” Hullender says. In San Antonio, that came in handy. “He was gentle, but if you did something to hurt him or one of his friends, he would take care of you right quick.”
But the depths that Snavely’s lifestyle in South Florida sank to are shocking even after considering all of that: In addition to the drugs, the p•rn, and the accusation of murder, the Houston Press details another relationship that Snavely had in his life, this one with a fifteen-year-old beauty queen. According to the Press, Snavely essentially kept her as a prisoner. Miller interviewed a former roommate of Snavely’s, who described seeing Snavely cut off her hair, and burning her face with a hot knife, in fits of jealousy. Her family, according to the story, worried that she’d been kidnapped.
Still, perhaps the most interesting parts of the story are the questions raised by the stereotypes surrounding Snavely’s lifestyle. It’s easy to see Snavely as inherently untrustworthy, as a drug-using sex worker with a history of problems with the law, but the way that people talk about him is telling:
For years, Greg Hullender defended his sons’ best friend against his detractors. But when he and his sons learned about Snavely’s gay p•rn career, their perceptions changed. “Whatever happened to him in Florida must have changed him,” Hullender says.
Consider that: A man who knew him when he would get arrested after starting fights with police by shouting racist epithets at the officers and felt that he was a good person for his sons to have in their lives lost confidence in him after learning that he’d had s•x with men.
And the teenage girlfriend that the Press describes Snavely as having tortured—who, perhaps surprisingly, visits him in jail regularly—summarizes the extent to which superficial judgments of people like Snavely, and her, rule the day:
“You think about a p•rn star, a stripper, and you think he’s the bad guy,” she says. “But I do [beauty] pageants. Do you really think that a girl who does pageants would be with someone who is as bad as they say?”
Snavely was acquitted of murder charges.
A rock solid source has revealed:
"She's in hiding because she owes promoters a lot of money!"
Allegedly, they paid her half up front to perform and she never showed up yet she pocketed the upfront money and never made any efforts to repay it.
And we're talking a lot of money from various promoters in different cities.
The source added: "Remember how her character shined through loud and clear on that ____ ____?
Thats the real her.
And people are wondering if she'll start a Gofundme account so she can secretly pay back the promoters?