Sunday, July 18, 2010

Farewell Randell Bradley-Benson 6/11/69 - 7/3/10

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By: Kevin L. Nichols

I tried to find the best way to honor one of my best friends and fraternity brother, Randell Bradley, and decided that doing what I do best would be the best way. I first met Randell during my initiation into the Gamma Alpha Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., while students at the University of California, Berkeley, back in the Spring of 1994. When I heard people say that he resembled “Caine” from the movie “Menace II Society”, I thought that we would have a tough time finding things in common. Then I discovered that we actually had a lot in common, one of our favorite movies was “The Five Heartbeats” on so many levels, we loved the English language, yet we constantly found ways to destroy it metaphorically, we loved business, we loved writing, and we loved our people. He also loved his friends. One of Randell’s friends died due to violence and he practically raised that young man’s son on his behalf.

Most people knew the goofy, silly side of Randell, and trust me, we were down right ignorant sometimes. He practically created a separate language that made Ebonics look like it could be on the SAT. Some of Randell’s coined phrases were: “corn, snacky, rateefy, moof-tagem, shalaze, and brim.” Nevertheless, he had a brilliant mind and created many of our chapter’s signature events that still exist to this day, such as the Diamond Ball, the Nupe Raffle, the James E. Dickey Scholarship Fund, and “Stamps for Change” where we sold envelopes and stamps for pre-written and addressed letters to the President opposing California’s passage of Proposition 209, which ended Affirmative Action. We also held the Judy Davis Bone Marrow Drive, named after my brother-in-law’s mother who died of cancer years ago to increase the number of African Americans in the national bone marrow donor database. Randell had the ideas and I knew how to execute them. We were a great team.

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(L - Kevin L. Nichols, Dr. Derrick Bell, Randell Bradley, Dr. Grace Carroll - R)

In addition to his comical side, Randell handled his business and was well respected in our fraternity. He was our “rock” and kept all of us together during individual strife, trials, and tribulations. Randell was the epitome of brotherhood. He always had his brother’s back and was his brother’s keeper. Unlike some people, Randell encouraged his friends to see what he saw in them and inspired them to achieve. Randell always wanted me to run for mayor, which I kindly reminded him that I had no interest or desire of doing so, yet just knowing that he believed in me meant the world to me. During his last year in college, he was practically my roommates. We did road-trips together and whenever I visited to Los Angeles, he would either meet me at the airport or drop by my hotel for dinner.

We talked for hours each week, including up to his death. Although I knew that he had Sickle Cell Anemia and would occasionally get sick, I had no idea that he was receiving dialysis twice a week up to his death and died of having fluid on his heart. At first, I was very angry that my friend could be in such pain and that our conversations about providing for the love of his life Essence and their 2 year old daughter Samara were merely foreshadowing his own eminent demise, I cannot fault him for who he has always been. Randell has always been more worried about others than himself. I will address how I plan to deal with this phenomenon at some future point, however, I will sadly miss my friend. I know that he is with the Lord and in a better place.

Just so that he knows, I have two boys and always wanted a little girl. Looks like I have a 2 year old to look after and her name rhymes with my wife’s.

Randell, had I known you needed a kidney and I was a match, you would have had it without hesitation. I miss you my friend and when ever I get to the part in our Kappa Hymn, I will think of you, “We’ll long for thee and toil until…we reach that Golden Shore…”