In the age of selfies, I can’t believe that never took a picture with my friend Walter Blount, who passed away suddenly on Friday. Though he and I had only been friends for a few years, we got close very fast, often going to our favorite Bolton Hill cafe for breakfast or lunch. Sitting in there snacking and drinking coffee, we were two Black bohemians talking about everything from Sun Ra to Sly Stone to the massive novel The Man Who Cried I Am by John A. Williams, which we discussed in detail last year.
Walter is the father of my homegirl Ericka Blount Danois, one of my favorite writers. She introduced to her amazing dad, a Howard University grad who was an aficionado in all thangs Black: people, music, art, books, films and more. The brother schooled me just by sharing his amazing stories. Though he was about two decades older than me, he was the epitome of “young at heart,” and turned me on to new stuff (40 Year Old Version, the latest Miles Davis doc) often.
A year ago he’d finally gotten his massive record collection out of storage, and had recently bought a new turntable to play them on.
The last time I saw Walter was the first week in January. To my untrained eye, he looked fine, but two weeks later, he suddenly slipped into the light of another plane. God…he’ll truly be missed. Over the years I’ve met so many people who, when they discovered I was a writer, said, “You should write a book about my life.” Mr. Walter never said anything so silly, but, if he had, I would’ve agreed with him.