Pink Starburst

Baby Jai

Baby Jai…the pink Starburst

At the tender age of 3, a beautiful, chocolate girl had her mother taken away from her as a result of a violent act intended for someone else. And while this is unfortunately common in the streets of LA, it is something that no child should ever witness first-hand. Yet although this is probably the hardest thing she’s dealt with, this is not the only adversity Jai Ross has overcome in order to make it to where she is today. She, like many other women in the Black community, has overcome the self-hatred we are subconsciously taught in order to find love within herself and has learned how to be a single parent after a failed marriage. And she not only pushed herself to finish school, but went further to obtain a master degree in Communications – something that she is a natural at doing.

Me & Sissy (right) 1990

Me & Sissy (right) 1990

 

Me & Jai (right; year unknown)

Me & Jai (right; year unknown)

 

For as long as I can remember, I have always been inspired by my “big sis”, yet I don’t think she has ever been aware of how much of an effect she’s had on me. She has influenced me so much, that a majority of who I am stems from her. When we were younger, I loved to hear her sing (as I still do) and that was the whole reason behind music being my first love. Her voice was just so powerful and soulful, and I wanted to experience that same joy she did anytime she opened her mouth.

Photo Credit: @jazzyjaiross

Photo Credit: @jazzyjaiross

And not only was her voice captivating – her mind was, too. I was always in awe as I read her poetry and felt motivated afterwards to step up my writing skills. Another thing that amazed me – as well as my mom – was how we could listen to hip-hop or neo-soul and decipher the true meaning of the lyrics we heard or translate them into what we thought they meant based upon our life experiences.

We had an unusual sense of what we considered fun, but it worked for us. I always enjoyed our time together, but since she’s only my cousin and not my actual sister, I couldn’t spend time with her like I wanted. But in the summer of 2003, everything changed. For some crazy reason (that I was NOT against), my aunt practically let her live with us. I was so happy when she was there, yet equally devastated when she had to go home. That was also the summer that we became so close, we decided that we were no longer “cousins”, but SISTERS!

Summer 2003

Summer 2003

Ever since then, our relationship has blossomed and we’ve been there for each other through very emotional times. And on top of that, our relationship is so strong that we have our own language! I can see or hear something that I know she will love, and she’s the same way when it comes to me. We’re so connected, that our children share a bond just as strong as ours – and if that isn’t sisterhood, then I don’t know what is…

Jai, Kody, Abby, & me (Easter 2014)

Jai, Kody, Abby, & me
(Easter 2014)

I must say, though, that since her move to Atlanta, I haven’t been able to see her or talk to her as much as I’d like to. But I have been told that distance makes the heart grow fonder and I know that she loves me just the same (if not more) as she did the last time we were together. And I know that regardless of what title she holds – be it sister, cousin, or friend – she will always be my favorite…because she is MY pink starburst…

Photo Credit: @jazzyjaiross

Photo Credit: @jazzyjaiross

 

 

P.S. — Click here to listen to the track that inspired the title on SoundCloud!

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