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TV One "Rickey Smiley For Real" Live Watch Party

Source: Marcus Ingram / Getty

While death is inevitably a part of life, that truth doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to those who have died.

We look back at some of the greats who passed away in 2023.

 

Brandon Smileythe son of Rickey Smiley has passed away. Brandon is Rickey’s oldest son with his mother Brenda. He also has a daughter named Storm.

Rickey took to social media to announce the news

 

 

Keep reading below to learn more about the notable Black people we’ve lost in 2023…

1. Barrett Strong, 82

The Motown Museum confirmed the passing of singer/songwriter Barrett Strong on Jan. 29. Strong sang “Money (That’s What I Want)” which became Motown Records’ first hit in 1959. 

2. Brandon Smiley, 32

TV One "Rickey Smiley For Real" Live Watch Party Source:Getty

“I just had bad news this morning. I’m on the way to the airport to get to Birmingham. I just want everybody to pray for me, pray for our family,” Rickey said in a video. “My son, Brandon Smiley, has passed away this morning.”

 

No official word on his passing.

3. Jesse Lemonier, 25

Carolina Panthers v Los Angeles Chargers Source:Getty

His former team, the Detroit Lions released a statement on Twitter, saying “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of former Detroit Lion Jessie Lemonier,” the Detroit Lions wrote in a statement shared via Twitter. “Jessie was a model teammate and wonderful young man who is gone far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

4. CJ Harris, 31

FOX's "American Idol" Season 13 - Top 7 Live Performance Show Source:Getty

According to TMZ, the former American Idol contestant suffered a heart attack. He was only 31 years old. 

5. Arthur Duncan, 89

Murray The Magician Tropicana Hotel Laugh Factory Opening Source:Getty

6. Charles White, 64

Charles White Posing with Heisman Trophy Source:Getty

7. Kevin Lemons, 44

Official Announcement from The Lemons Family 🕊️

It is with great sadness that we announce the transition of our Founder – Kevin Lemons. Please keep his wife Tiunna, Family and Higher Calling lifted in prayer as we all process this sudden loss. Thank you all for the outpouring of love already shown. We are so appreciative and grateful for each of you! 🍋🕊️

8. Gordy Harmon, 79

The Whispers Early Portrait Source:Getty

Gordy Harmon, a founding member of the R&B group The Whispers, died Thursday in his sleep at his Los Angeles home.

9. Uche Nwaneri, 38

Jacksonville Jaguars 2010 Headshots Source:Getty

Jacksonville Jaguars co-owner Tony Khan tweeted “Rest In Peace, Uche Nwaneri.  Nwaneri played 7 seasons with the Jaguars, 2007-2013, and forged a strong bond with the Jags fans that’s remained to this day. On behalf of the Jaguars organization and my family, our thoughts are with Uche’s family + friends at this terrible time.”

10. Gangsta Boo, 43

Run The Jewels In Concert - Atlanta, Georgia Source:Getty

Mitchell was the second woman to join Three 6 Mafia in the early ’90s, and after her departure from the group, she continued to record mixtapes and appear on singles from the likes of Gucci ManeLa Chat, and more. When she was fifteen, she contributed to Three 6’s Mystic Stylez album and remained a fixture in Memphis through her untimely passing.

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11. Fred White, Earth Wind & Fire Drummer, 67

Photo of EARTH WIND & FIRE and Fred WHITE Source:Getty

Verdine White confirmed the news on Instagram saying

Our family is saddened today. With the loss of an amazing and talented family member, Our beloved brother Frederick Eugene “Freddie” White.
🙏🏾🙏🏾💔💔🥁🥁

He joins our brothers Maurice, Monte and Ronald in heaven and is now drumming with the angels! 🥁🥁 Child protégé, member of the EWF ORIGINAL 9, with gold records at the young age of 16 years old! He was brother number 4 in the family lineup. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

But more than that at home and beyond he was the wonderful bro that was always entertaining and delightfully mischievous!

And we could always count on him to make a seemingly bad situation more light hearted!🙏🏾😍🙏🏾

He will live in our hearts forever, rest in power beloved Freddie!!

We thank you all for your love, blessings and support at this time. Soar high baby bro, we love you to the shining ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️and back!
🙏🏾🕊️🙏🏾🕊️🙏🏾🕊️🙏🏾
🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈

12. Anita Pointer, 74 (December 31st)

Benefit Performance of A.R. Gurney's 'Love Letters' Source:Getty

Pointer’s family, in a statement obtained by CBS News, said, “While we are deeply saddened by the loss of Anita, we are comforted in knowing she is now with her daughter, Jada and her sisters June & Bonnie and at peace. She was the one that kept all of us close and together for so long. Her love of our family will live on in each of us. Please respect our privacy during this period of grief and loss. Heaven is a more loving, beautiful place with Anita there.”

 

Pointer is preceded in death by her only daughter Jada, who passed in 2003, and sisters Bonnie and June, who passed in 2020 and 2006 respectively.