Today marks the one-year anniversary of the day that Pop Smoke was tragically killed in Los Angeles. Born Bashar Barakah Jackson, the late artist was a Hip-Hop star in the making, and his posthumous debut album Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon was one of the most-streamed projects of 2020. In honor of Pop Smoke’s life and legacy, his mother Audrey Jackson stopped by the Breakfast Club alongside New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams for an interview about her son’s life and legacy, the Shoot for the Stars Foundation, and the importance of forgiveness.
When touching on her feelings about her son’s passing one year later, Jackson says, “These moments, they’re bittersweet. Here at the Breakfast Club, you guys, he would listen to you all every day. He sat in the kitchen at the table, played you all. This should have been his moment. Everything I’m doing to promote and expand his legacy, it looks from the outside looking in [like] ‘She’s on stage!’”
“But every moment of that is faithful,” she continues, “because there’s a way that, in planning it, there’s a secret place inside of me that says at the end of the day, when this event happens, he’s gonna be there. And at the end of it, I’m trying to check in with myself. Why are you feeling so bad? The thing went well. And then I realize I was expecting him to show up. And I’m still in that place.”
She also reveals that she rarely listens to Pop Smoke’s music unless she’s using his lyrics in her work as an educator, saying, “It hurts. And I’m gonna tell you guys, I don’t [listen] unless I have to. I can’t listen, even in my car. I turn on news. I can’t. Any kind of music. Because that was our connection, that was our thing. We danced together, we sang together.”
After listening to her heartbreaking comments, one would expect Jackson to be angry and spiteful at the people who killed her son, but rather surprisingly, she states, “They’ve done something and there should be some sort of repercussion for what they’ve done, but my brain goes to their households that have been disturbed. Mine has been damaged, but their moms and their dads, too, have had some stuff. It’s not about forgiveness, per se, but just kind of understanding the dynamics of what’s going on. Am I ready to go out to tea and to lunch? Not yet. But I really try not to operate out of a place of negativity or anger because it doesn’t serve any purpose.”
You can check out the full interview, featuring more anecdotes from Jackson as well as statements from New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams, in the video below.
Rest in paradise, Pop Smoke.