In the midst of a whirlwind week filled with pretty shitty news, there was one story that seemed to fly under the radar, and one which is sine qua non in these dark times.
In early May, Lil J — a wise, intelligent six-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri — made headlines after recording a video pleading folks to “stop killing each other.” The video, posted on Facebook, picked up steam and became viral. In the clip, Lil J explains why he chose to record such an important PSA, revealing his mother’s cousin was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting.
“[The news] made my momma feel really bad. I feel bad too. I know I don’t know him, but I feel bad about people killing each other,” said Lil J in the video, which as of this writing has racked up over 200K views. “I’m a kid. And I’m not supposed to be knowing all this stuff. I’m not supposed to be knowing about all these guns.”
The emotional video eventually made its way to Pusha T, who seemed so moved by the actions of such a bright, young man that he felt compelled to pen a personal letter to Lil J, justly calling him a super-hero and showering him with praises and admiration.
Pusha also pledged to send Lil J and his cousins to Six Flags in St. Louis, summer camp upon return, tickets to the premiere of Spider-Man: Homecoming and revealing he started a college fund for the courageous six-year-old.
Check out the Instagram post and a full transcript of the letter below.
“Dear Lil J,
Hi my name is Terrence ‘Pusha -T’ Thornton. I saw your video and I’m really sorry that you are having to deal with people shooting guns and hurting others where you live. A lot of people can’t imagine how hard it is being a kid where you are from, If I were you, I would be scared too. But I thought it was very brave of you to speak up and try to help your family, friends, and community. There a lot of 6yr olds all over the United States who are scared just like you and guess who their Super Hero is…YOU!!
Your video really woke me up. You are a thoughtful and smart kid already at such a young age already, I can tell. You spoke so clearly but about something so terrible in gun violence and fear which is something no child should be speaking about with so much knowledge. I would much rather you taught me how to play video games or build a car or about the latest comic book you read and if you think Spiderman really is better than Batman. I know I can’t solve all of your problems at once but hopefully this is a start. Hopefully other men in our communities see this video and also realize that a 6 year old boy just challenged us all to do better. No matter where we are in life we have to look out for the youth. As someone who’s familiar with places not too different from where you are, please believe me your options are endless and there is so much more to the world than your neighborhood. You have your life in front of you and you should enjoy every moment of it and more importantly LOOK FORWARD not behind you or around you and worry.
Since you like helping people I wanna help you. What I’m gonna do for you is make sure that you have the fun that every 6yr old should have this summer. I’m sending you, your cousins Janiya and Brandon to Six Flags Amusement Park in St Louis, I know you guys are gonna have the best time. When you arrive back, all of you will all start summer camp at the Boys & Girls club. All summer long you will be learning, playing, and meeting new friends. I heard that you love Spider Man so I’m gonna make sure that you will be one of the first to see new Spider-Man movie next month!! I also sent some things to your house for the times you aren’t away at camp. There are some games, books, an iPad and other toys to help you enjoy the summer and beyond. I can’t wait to hear about which books you liked better and which car was the fastest. I hope the package encourages you to learn new things and most importantly, imagine.
Lil J I want you to do me a favor and enjoy being 6 yrs old. Smile more than frown, explore without fear, learn uncontrollably, dream without limits.
P.S. I started this thing called a college fund for you…it’s for when you grow up a little, you don’t have to worry about it now but when you do need it, its there for you.
Terrence “Pusha -T” Thornton”