As we honour the anniversary of Jay Dee’s passing this week its hard not to consider the turmoil with his estate and the health of his mother Maureen Yancey. As most of you know his mother provided care for him until his very last days. She quit her job and lost the family home to be with her son. She’s currently battling Lupus – the same disease that took J Dilla’s life three years ago.
The executor for Jay Dee’s estate is Arty Erk his former accountant. According to the latest VIBE Article, Erk explains that payments from the estate were delayed because Dilla has an outstanding tax debt in the “healthy six figures.” So Jay Dee’s mother and his two daughters haven’t received any compensation since he passed. It just puts a really dark cloud over such an incredible musical legacy.
I’m happy to see the good people at Stones Throw are trying to help out with a tee shirt they’ve created to raise proceeds for his mother. With his estate looming in litigation it’s good that people are trying to assist in dire times for his family. So I thought to myself; what would I do to make a difference? Besides of course becoming a high priced lawyer or resurrecting Johnny Cochran from the dead for a ‘W’ in this case…lol
Many of the same artists Jay Dee collaborated with are still in contact with his mother. I know they can’t do an event with anything referring to Jay Dee or J Dilla (because the estate owns the name and anything in his likeness)*, but they should really do a big benefit concert like Dave Chappelle did with Block Party. Questlove could definitely organize that if everyone was on board for the cause. Just imagine a benefit concert with; The Roots, Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Q-Tip, De La Soul, Slum Village, Madlib, Black Milk etc. That concert would easily top the first Block Party lineup. As long as least half the proceeds were going to his mother and his two children I don’t see failure in that endeavor.
There’s no question in my mind that fans would support a concert like that. Most of the aforementioned artists don’t even need new material to sellout a venue right now. As I write this, I’m thinking; how has this not already happened? The organization of that sort of venture along with the legalities concerning his estate are the only real obstacles preventing it. The bottom line is something has to change. If Mrs. Yancey can get her foundation off the ground and get some organizers to help put that together I’m confident she’ll get the support from artists and Jay Dee fans alike. I’m just worried that with her health worsening, she may not be well enough to really make that a reality. Lastly, I really hope that the legal issues surrounding his estate finally get sorted out this year and his family receives compensation because its pretty fucked up when people are buying “j dilla changed my life” tee’s and his family isn’t making any money off of it.