Saturday, March 11, 2006


Uncle Arthur up close at a moment of clarity. (1963-2003)

My Uncle Arthur was always able to stand out from a crowd...Here he is pictured with me (in the Bart Simpson sweater)and some of my very good friends from college attending my first professional one man art show opening, R2C2H2: Evolution of a Style at the Vaughn Cultural Center of The St. Louis Urban League---January 2002 (feautured from left to right Nate Dogg, Mr. B, Glory and Mags, I know sounds like characters from a Quentin Tarantino movie!!!)

This is the actual funeral speech I gave at my Uncle Arthur's funeral on August 2, 2003...Uncle Arthur was my mother's youngest brother who finally succumbed to complications from the HIV and AIDS viruses on July 27,2003...He was a truly beautiful human being who is the only person I truly never seen get really mad and act bitter towards anyone in my 23 years of knowing him...A class act...He is truly missed and died before his time...When you read the text you will understand why many people got mad at me for saying it (this speech has helped me earn the title of Mr. Controversy in my family,but I will now let you, the reader, decide if what I said is really controversial or just truth speaking...

My Darling Uncle Arthur Taylor Jr. wore the crown of a saint. He was more in tune with things other worldly and spiritual than most people are with their VCR clocks and income taxes!!! Arthur was a people magnet. Arthur was so charming and witty that people found themselves actually at ease with his sometimes erratic and impatient yet comforting and likable persona. I have bore witness to many occasions where Arthur was able to change the very mood and atmosphere of a place by simply walking in a room and saying something in his native tongue. No matter if they laughed or not (most times someone did) Arthur was able to get some substantial response from the audience HIS Audience. You see no matter where Arthur went he seemed to be the center of attention…It seemed that everything and everyone revolved around the radiant sun of his universe a.k.a. Mr. Arthur Taylor Jr. He had The Gift of Gab. Arthur could make you believe the most outlandish of schemes and stories. Arthur could have been a master politician. Arthur also exhibited a genius for the art of story telling. He was the Black Man’s version of Mark Twain because he told stories based on things that could only happen in Arthur’s world through a combination of sophisticated humor combined with straight on point social commentary. Like Twain, Arthur’s World had its own set of rules, characters, and language/slang. I learned the art of telling jokes from Uncle Arthur somewhat forced because he was a loquacious motor mouth who loved attention (MUCH LIKE MYSELF). Instead of using the mighty Mississippi River, river boats and small river town life as back drops like Twain did, My Uncle used the buses and bus stops, Lincoln Park and overall aspects of big city life as inspirations for his masterpieces. Arthur in all aspects was true BLACK STAR POWER in the realest sense of the word.

Sometimes we as people and individuals are more concerned with living in comfort and convenience than living in truth and righteousness If you really want to know the truth Arthur did not die from A.I.D.S. or H.I.V. BUT FROM IGNORANCE, NEGLECT, AND DENIAL. Arthur was a victim of rape many times over but became a victor for life many times stronger for he refused to let his past and his failings to keep him from believing in better days. One thing that kept Arthur empowered was his unique sense of humor. Arthur’s humor-like many of the greatest comedians of all times-was both based in tragedy and spirituality…Because it was the tragedy of his disease and his victimization that helped fuel his humor, a humor which helped eased his pain as well as the pain of others. His development and nurturing of his gift of humor helped bring him closer to the awesome and titanic source of The Creator. Arthur prolifically and efficiently used his humor to turn even his darkest and most pessimistic times into lessons for others, including me, about hope and living in unconditional love.

We should not feel sorry for what we think was Arthur’s so-called demise. A.I.D.S. was a gift…Yes I said A.I.D.S. was a gift to let Arthur understand something we all tend to forget: That life is short and very fragile and that he still have some great and significant things to achieve, but must be very selective in what he chose to focused on. Arthur was given a chance to not only repent and to forgive others for wrongs committed against him, but to also teach GOD’S message. Arthur was GOD’s personal messenger. Arthur was a Biblical figure. Our Arthur??? How was that so you may ask??? People seem to forget that many of the most courageous and righteous of Biblical heroes were professional all star sinners before and after they became full-fledged Saints. Noah was a drunk, which would give us a good explanation why people may not have believed him about the coming of The Great Flood. King David was a man who conquered Goliath, but could not conquer his lust for another man’s wife, which brought him to kill that man for the quenching of his lust. Paul was first and foremost a ruthless cold-blooded killer of man before being converted into a GOD fearing and loving devotee and servant to the Gospel we know and forever celebrate. Even Jesus found his following stronger among the prostitutes and criminals than among the so-called moral and ethical institutions of his day. The list goes on and on, but my point is that GOD will use the so-called most despised, the lowliest, the lonely, the hopeless and the worthless of our society to effect change.
Whether we recognize it or not Arthur has taught many of us very important lessons on life and faith.

For example, Arthur taught me patience because I often found my self, when my mom was not able, taking him to his doctor’s appointments because of the distance and the long wait it sometimes entailed. Arthur taught me courage because regardless of how bad his outer appearance was worsened by his condition he still had the gall and audacity to face each day with increased assurance and walked outside to a destiny only known to him. He refused to let this so-called death sentence control his life to where he was scared to live his life. It’s amazing how Arthur hypnotized people. Strangers were not even scared to touch or talk to him despite the fact that his lips were covered with dark tough scabs and his immense spitting/ saliva output because of his speech impediment. This tells me that he not only won their hearts, but their respect as well because they saw beyond his outward appearance beyond his outward appearance and found his wonderful and good-hearted humanity. They saw Arthur as a total human being when many, including me, at times could not. At times I thought of Arthur as being a burden and a waste of time because I felt that he was drinking his life away and letting A.I.D.S. win. Now I realize that the drinking was not the true problem it was only a symptom. Arthur’s true problem(s) were his doubts about who he was and what was his purpose haunted his ever wakening moment in this life. You see Arthur was molested and victimized by a family friend and neighbor during childhood years, the years where you develop your foundation for your lifelong sense of identity. Arthur never received professional therapy for these traumatic experiences but received plenty of insults, indifference, hatred, disrespect and labels of faggot, cross dresser, and homo. Although he had the unconditional love and support of his family, this could not help fill the huge void that occurred after a part of him was unmercifully killed by a soul dead and jaded human being. How can anyone comfort him, including family, when he and he alone had to endure and live with these human debasing and savage acts committed upon his person and against his will. Instead of getting back into the normalcy of his previous life his life’s void gradually increased and Arthur digressed into a self- destructive alcoholic and unprotected sex-consuming binge. Arthur wanted a wife and kids but people and his demons would not let him forget that he was raped and that it was meant for him to be a so-called faggot and punk for the rest of his life. He must have thought he was responsible for another human being's monstrosity and hatred being unleashed upon him. Since he was being called and haunted by all these sub-human labels what’s to say that he did not deserve his fate of hell on earth??? GOD DEFINITELY KNEW THE RIGHT ANSWER TO THAT COMPLEX QUESTION AND YOU CAN DEFINITELY BELIEVE THAT ARTHUR KNEW THAT ANSWER BEFORE HE DEPARTED TO THE NEXT DIMENSION!!!

Arthur wanted like all of us to be able to receive love and give it in return. Given that he was human Arthur have on occasions went through the wrong channels to try to claim this holiest of grails, but in the end he paid for it like Christ did through his life’s blood. Some may say that Arthur did not live his life to its fullest potential. Some may say that Arthur won’t see the so-called holiest of gates and the saint of saints, St. Peter, because of his lifestyle choices. Let me leave you with these parting thoughts. Arthur may not have been the most perfect of role models or at times the most ethical (name me one person who is all these things at all times), but Arthur was at all times human which made him perfectly fine with GOD, who made Arthur in his image. When you realize this you will understand that Arthur will get to his rightful and just destination(s). Your and mine approval/opinion of his soul’s final resting place will not matter because GOD’S OPINION WHICH EQUATES TO GOD’S LAW IS THE ONLY QUALIFIER THAT MATTERS. We humans, not the Devil contrary to popular belief, give each other hell, grief, and torment. If GOD actually thought and act like us then no one and I mean no one would be able to bask in GOD’S GLORY. GOD IS LOVE IN ITS TRUEST FEELING, IS TRUTH IN ITS BRIGHTEST LIGHT, HOPE AT ITS HIGHEST ALTITUDE, AND FAITH IN ITS STRONGEST ELEMENT.GOD LOVED MY UNCLE ARTHUR BECAUSE GOD BROUGHT HIM THE PEACE OF MIND AT THE END OF HIS LIFE THAT no one or thing could bring and that no one or thing will take away from him again. Uncle Arthur you are not gone or won’t be forgotten. Like one of your favorite all time songs you were definitely one in a million. May you travel in peace and comfort on the universal spiritual highway called eternity.


1 comment:

C. Herd said...

Thanks for caring about Arthur and bringing him to life. This is very touching and moving. May God continue to bless you.