Recently I was privileged enough to speak with former Death Row Records recording artist and music legend Danny “Danny Boy” Steward about his most recent revelations and life experiences and I must say that I was not only humbled but found myself experiencing his pain through his voice and words the same way his voice and words moved me on songs such as Tupac’s “I Aint Mad At Ya”.
Captivated by the story being told to me I knew that this is a story that is worth telling and has the potential to help many people, offering advice and personal life experiences Danny Boy is ready to open up about his personal life and recent tragic events involving a good friend taking his own life.
This conversation wasn’t about his time with Death Row Records, his friendship with Tupac or any other related matter and I didn’t want to bring any of that up because that’s not what made me want to tell his story, we’ve all heard about those days and the glory of success however what we didn’t know is that Danny Boy has been hiding the fact that he is gay. He has recently decided to let the world know that he’s ready to be “transparent” and open up about his sexuality publicly, saying “It became too painful to hide. It hurts more to hold it in than to just be who you are… It’s more dangerous to keep it in.”
The dangers that he referred to hit close to home for him roughly a week ago.
Danny had befriended a young man by the name of Anthony via social media and they became good friends very quickly sharing many intimate conversations about spirituality and each others struggles before actually meeting and deciding to start “dating”. I noticed very quickly when Danny speaks about Anthony he speaks of a troubled young man with a wonderful soul struggling with acceptance of his sexuality as well as his spiritual acceptance to his sexuality. When speaking together they shared a bond that few could understand and Anthonys tragically short life made a huge impact on Danny.
On Friday December 6, Danny spent time with Anthony before getting on a plane and heading to Jacksonville, FL for business, not knowing that this would be the last time they would spend time together they parted ways on a positive note. They spoke for hours that same night about Anthonys struggle with spirituality and being gay. Danny stated they spent time on the phone praising and worshipping repeatedly quoting Bible verse John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”)
The following day, Saturday December 7, Danny and Anthony spoke briefly on several occasions about their normal topics, nothing seemingly wrong according to Danny. Later that night into the early morning at 1:40 a.m. Anthony called yet the call was missed because Danny was sleeping, this would be the last time Anthony would have any form of contact with anyone.
On the morning of December 8 Danny called Anthony and received no response. After several unanswered calls and text messages that were not responded to, Danny had it in his head that his friend was upset because of the missed call the previous night and decided to give him time. Danny at this point had no idea that his friend had already taken his own life.
As the night fell and the morning of December 9 rose Danny felt something wasn’t right being that he had heard nothing from his friend so he placed a phone call that he would never forget. Anthonys brother answered his cell phone and broke the news that Anthony had committed suicide the previous day. The immediate emotions of confusion, hurt and guilt poured over Danny like a blanket of sadness and he just cried in disbelief. Danny spent the rest of the evening praying and grieving.
In the days following Danny went to Anthonys family home and walked with his family through this hard time helping take care of services of remembrance and being a support system.
Danny remembers Anthony as a “sweet soul, sweet spirit” and wants this story to be heard in hopes that his strength and personal life experiences can prevent anyone else feeling like they have to hide who they are or feel like they have no other option to death. Danny has setup a hotline for people that may need to reach out to someone who can and will let them know that who they are is who God intended for them to be and life is precious.
Story composed by Jeff Gill for www.102TheBeatFM.com
All Rights Reserved 2013