June of this year marked the loss of one of our biggest inspirations, Jas Waters known to many – us included – as JasFly. Since our inception in 2010, her journey inspired us to make our own rules and to not be ashamed of being works in progress. Writer T Lloyd pays tribute to the her beautiful life. We pray that her loved ones are covered during this time.
Jas was robbed of her life but the time that wasn’t stolen is beautifully woven into the fabric of our own. Her words were comforting, her tongue was sharp, and her touch was soft. Her admirers confided in her because she was the friend in our head; the homegirl we didn’t deserve but we were better for having.
“You wanna say n.gga but you don’t wanna be followed around a store. You wanna say n.gga but you don’t wanna be discriminated on by police. You wanna say n.gga but you don’t wanna not be able to get a fucking cab in the rain. You wanna act like you gon’ be a n.gga, then be a fucking n.gga and live a n.gga life. If not, then keep that sh.t out your fucking mouth.”
Then she softens and posts a homemade Greek salmon bowl. Evidence of how she balanced delicately on the edges of her life, filled with rage over the mistreatment of Black people and then in a moment’s notice, operating in the stillness of her own resilience. But resilience didn’t save her and that’s why we grieve; because the burden of sadness is bigger than a Black woman’s talent, her reach and even her future.
We often overlook that someone so wise usually endures past an uncommon threshold of pain to become that way. We’d forgotten her struggles but she didn’t. Instead, she leveraged them to relate to those still climbing, those who had peaked and those who hadn’t even started their journeys yet.
Jas, you were the shift the world didn’t know it needed; a notice that so much talent couldn’t possibly fit in one life. Our hope is that we will meet you in a hundred different lifetimes, and read at least one of your stories in each one.
May your words cradle the wounded. May your passing hold us accountable like your life did. May your memory remind us that love is the only legacy worth leaving.
T Lloyd is obsessed with the human condition. She studies people, sadness, grief, and relationships predominantly in the Black community. The Temple University graduate majored in Sociology and African-American studies to understand the connection between storytelling and science. As a Communications consultant, she spends her time translating and developing content for multiple audiences. Her life’s purpose is to create work that everyone can see themselves in.
She is currently working on her literary sequel to She’s Your Daughter Too. Additionally, she is the founder of boutique firm, communications + culture and regularly contributes to her site, tassika.com. Twitter: @t_lloyd Instagram: @tassikadotcom