(December 11, 1959 – August 2, 2011)
LESS THAN A YEAR AGO, Leslie reached a pinnacle for a fiction writer, having introduced Barack Obama to an anxious audience, relating to Health Care Reform. She said in her speech that she and her daughter were “in perfect health.” But she also dropped in a “what if“, speaking to the possibility of her succumbing to a tragedy and not able to meet the rising costs of health insurance for herself & her daughter.
Today, that “what if” became the “what now,” as my friend Leslie Esdalle Banks, affectionately known as “LA,” lost her battle with cancer. I can’t help thinking, WHAT THE FUCK? In perfect health YESTERDAY, dead from cancer TODAY? Forget that she had dozens of books, and that she was author of the “SCARFACE” PREQUELS. Forget that she was up there with Barack and that she had legions of fans. Forget the fame and the glory of being an author known throughout the world. What I’m zooming in on is DAMN… is THIS my fate? Leslie was a great human being, much less a great author. She had a crystal clear sense of things; what the world calls on an author for; and she was talented in her pinkie, moreso than 5 Jay-Z‘s and 25 Lil Waynes are in their whole mass of flesh. All that and she gets dropped like a chunk of lead? I’m seeing all these news reports being pushed to my iPad screen about government and weather and traffic jams, and I’m wondering, CAN THIS BOSS-BITCH GET SOME LOVE!? (Please don’t get on me; Leslie and I were raw JUST like that; and she always appreciated my every word IN PUBLIC). But, I’m just sayin, does a writer hafta hold their crotch, strip naked and/or get into some domestic shit to get love. And people wonder why I’m so harsh with my words, and why I attack life as I do. Number one, THIS SHIT AIN’T PROMISED TO NOBODY. Number two, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. And finally, IF YOU DON’T RAP or TOSS A BASKETBALL, THE WORLD AT LARGE DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOU.
So, from today, I have learned a lesson; on Leslie’s name MASSIVE SUCCESS AWAITS ME. I AIN’T GOIN OUT LIKE THAT. I’M RIDING FOR RELENTLESS. I’M RIDING FOR MY FAMILY, MY READERS; MY CULTURE AND MY LEGACY. BUT, FUCK THAT, I’M RIDING FOR LESLIE!
R.I.P. MY GOOD FRIEND MY condolences to your family; my consideration to your agent and friend Manny Baron, and I wish good health and well-being to the rest of you, in this game of CHANCE & CHOICE that we call LIFE.