Tributes have flooded social media today (Feb. 19) as fans remember Pop Smoke one year after his tragic death. Friends and collaborators like Fivio Foreign, 50 Cent and more have remembered the late rapper and reflected on his legacy in posts and interviews.
Pop’s mother Audrey Jackson, who has worked to prevent gun violence since his death, also appeared as a guest on “The Breakfast Club” along with New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams. On Friday, Jackson spoke about honoring her son’s legacy with anti-gun violence efforts.
“These moments… they’re bittersweet,” she said. “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.”
Jackson has also worked to extend Pop’s legacy by planning events for his Shoot for the Stars Foundation.
“… 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,” she said. “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.”
Jackson and Pop’s father, Greg, previously partnered with the Entertainers 4 Education Alliance/I WILL GRADUATE program to release a PSA about gun violence.
“Audrey is an amazing educator. Her husband is in the financial industry — an industry that is challenging for a Black man to navigate and he’s extremely successful,” mayoral candidate Eric Adams said. “Brother Pop Smoke had an amazing foundation that we saw in his creativity… He was deeply rooted in strong faith, [had a] strong understanding of the English language… and he brought his own flavor to it.”
Adams added that “we are losing too many Pop Smokes all over our country” to gun violence.
“Gun violence has become the new slave owner,” he said. “When we saw Black men disappear from the continent of Africa and we were wondering where they were going in the belly of the slave ship… Gun violence is becoming the new belly of the slave ship. Too many young Black men we are losing and we need to turn this around.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Jackson spoke on the status of her son’s murder case and said detectives are currently trying to determine whether or not one of the minor suspects can be tried as an adult.
“They’ve done something and there should be some sort of repercussion for what they’ve done,” she said of Pop’s alleged killers. “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.”
See the full interview below.