Heavy D, the influential rapper renowned for his infectious beats and captivating lyrics that helped shape the landscape of Hip-Hop music, was honored in a sculpture unveiling event hosted by Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard at the highly anticipated luxury high-rise, 42 Broad Street.
Born as Dwight Arrington Myers in Jamaica, Heavy D relocated to Mount Vernon with his family during his youth, where he discovered his passion for rap music.
With his remarkable talent, he swiftly became an integral part of the local Hip-Hop scene, eventually gaining recognition on a global scale. Heavy D released a string of successful albums throughout his career, including his debut Living Large (1987), Big Tyme (1989) and Peaceful Journey (1991), the latter serving as the inspiration for the sculpture commemorating his enduring legacy.
Selected through a competitive process overseen by ArtsWestchester, a prominent advocate for public art, the sculpture, aptly titled “Peaceful Journey,” was crafted by the esteemed Brooklyn-based artist Eto Otitgbe.
The artwork finds its place at the bustling intersection of Broad Street and Fleetwood Avenue, offering a visible symbol of homage to Heavy D’s influence.
Otitgbe explained that the sculpture aimed to pay tribute to the profound impact of Mount Vernon, the Bronx, and Los Angeles on the lives of Black and Brown individuals, a theme poignantly depicted in Heavy D’s music.
“I wanted to pay homage to the Mount Vernon community that had such an important place in Hip-Hop with this work of art,” said Otitigbe of Peaceful Journey.
During the unveiling event, Heavy D’s family, including his mother, Euhlalee Myers, attended and expressed their appreciation for the artwork. Heavy D’s mother shared her son’s deep affection for the arts and his unwavering love for Mount Vernon.
Reflecting on the occasion, she stated, “My son loved the arts, and this sculpture depicts the love that he had, especially for the city of Mount Vernon,” ABC7 reported.
Mayor Patterson-Howard also addressed the crowd, acknowledging Heavy D’s significant contributions to the city’s cultural fabric.
“Heavy D holds a special place in the history of Mount Vernon and the Hip-Hop genre. This sculpture serves as a fitting tribute to his legacy and the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop.”
Tragically, Heavy D’s life was cut short at the age of 44, leaving an indelible void in the music industry.
In November 2011, he tragically passed away due to complications from cardiovascular disease and a blood clot in his lung caused by a long plane ride, shocking fans and fellow artists alike.
His sudden and unexpected death served as a stark reminder of the fragility of life and the enduring impact of his artistry.
In the wake of Heavy D’s untimely departure, his memory lives on through his timeless music and his profound influence on Mount Vernon and the Hip-Hop community.
The sculpture “Peaceful Journey” is a poignant tribute to his legacy, reminding all who encounter it of this legendary rapper’s vibrant spirit and immense talent.