Rochester, N.Y. (WROC) — As a DJ for 105.5 The Beat, Sierra Monaé mentors many of the local artists behind the songs she plays.
“I do interviews, show up to their appearances, anything I can just to show that they have my support,” Monaé said.
That role, though, has come with a good deal of tragedy.
Over the last few years Monaé has lost four of her promising artists to gun violence.
“I hate it. I hate it. I hate it so much, just because it’s so senseless,” Monaé said.
One killed was Rayquan Jones, who went by the name of Turbo.
He was shot to death in 2019.
“He had a lot of support here and definitely could have went to the next level, but he was taken from us,” Monaé said.
Earlier this month, Monaé drove over to the Main Street Armory to take part in a celebration of Turbo’s life and music.
There she found bounce houses, food, goody bags – a free party thrown by Turbo’s mom, Sil’Juana Range, Jr.
“So I just want to give back to the community and just show people that no matter how much you hurt you can turn pain into power,” Range, Jr. said.
Range, Jr. also wants her own story to stand as a lesson.
“I just feel bad for the mothers because I don’t want nobody to feel like me. I don’t do my hair no more. I don’t get my nails done, I don’t do anything and I don’t want nobody to feel like me,” she said.
Her son, she says, used help her care for his younger brothers and sisters all while going to school and growing his music career.
“I’m forever grateful for that, so I’m going to keep going hard for my son,” she said.
As will Monaé, who is convinced Turbo’s legacy and that of other local artists shouldn’t die with them.