“I was born in Detroit but we moved to Mobile. I have been here all of my life. I built Flavor Flav Snowcone Shack so my baby could have a job after school. Her name was Anesa Baker and she went to McGill-Toolen. She was in the ninth grade. On April 1, 2018, I dropped her off at a friend’s house. I gave her $20 and told her I loved her. It was Easter Sunday and she went to a pre-spring break concert at the Grand Hall. It was the first party she had gone to. That night she was shot from random gunfire. She survived for ten days and we thought she was going to make it. In the hospital before she passed, I told her not to worry about her mama, I would take care of her.
Anesa was clumsy. She had two left feet, but she played basketball, volleyball and softball. She and her friends loved riding the golf cart through our neighborhood. Her Facebook was BGM Nesa. We didn’t know what that stood for, but her godsister said it meant ‘Been Getting Money’. Every day as she got out of the car in elementary school, I gave her $2 for a popsicle. I gave her $5 and in middle school and $20 in high school. I never wanted her to be broke or stealing from someone else. I told her not to spend all of her money. I hoped I was teaching her to save for the things she really wanted. After she passed away, I found $840 in her room. She had saved her money. BGMNesa is now on my car tag.
My wife and I started the Anesa Baker Movement, a non-profit in her name to help stop gun violence. We also pay for scholarships for students in Mobile. We are trying to make something good from our tragedy and keep Anesa’s memory alive. You never get over this. I get up every day and go to work and keep moving. I am okay until I start talking about her. The guy who shot her was 18 and goes to court in January for sentencing.
I used to be a knucklehead and sold drugs in the streets. I didn’t like going to school and got into the drug game because I wanted to make a lot of money. I didn’t carry a gun, but I knew I would go to jail one day for what I was doing. I went to prison for ten years. Two years into prison, my house burned down, along with $1.6 million I had in the attic. When I got out of prison, I was dead broke. My uncle bought me a T-shirt machine and I picked up on doing the T-shirts in the school system after their T-shirt maker passed away. I haven’t looked back. Now I have a mentoring program and work with troubled kids. They help me make T-shirts. I want to show these guys a better life besides guns and drugs. I don’t want another parent going through what we have been through.”
(Flavor Flav Snowcone Shack is at 1420 Dr Martin Luther King Ave in Mobile)