On Monday, November 22, 2010, my brother and I were getting ready to leave for my cheerleading practice. Usually, we were on time but this day he let me know that we would have to be late because he had some things to handle. I pleaded that we couldn’t be late but he didn’t want to listen. A friend of his picked him up and they left the house. Little did I know that would be the last time I would see my brother alive. A few minutes went by and my brother's girlfriend called and told me that I needed to call my mother because my brother had been shot. Me, being the 15-year old that I was, froze and didn’t know what to do. I had to relay a message to my mother that I couldn’t believe was even true. I called my brother 5 times and there was no answer. So I had no choice but to call my mother. When she answered the phone my voice was shaking and cracking trying to find the words to come out of my mouth that her son, my brother, had been shot. With the same reaction that any mother would have my mom was silent on the phone. She told me to call my dad and let him know that we needed to go to the hospital. Still, in disbelief, I called my brother praying that this was a joke and he would answer my phone call and of course no answer. Finally, after the 3rd time calling, someone answered and they said “Jimmy has been shot and you all need to meet us at the hospital.” I fell to my knees and began to cry because the sweetest, goofiest, biggest family man is in a horrible situation NO ONE ever saw coming.

On November 23 the doctors confirmed that my brother, Jimmy “Belp” Jean, had passed on. It was news no one ever wanted to hear but God had other plans. To this day, we hurt and hurt terribly, because one of our own was taken from us. But we don’t blame, we love each other harder than ever. Losing our brother may have hurt us but it will never break us. We grew closer and closer as a family each and every day. Although my brother has passed on, he left us 3 golden treasures. Their names are Jamari, Jayden, and Jimmy Jr. Seeing their face reminds us that our brother’s spirit will always be alive. His flesh may have left us but his soul is still here.

So to answer the question, “What is Belp Life?” In the words of an Anonymous author “Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from their loved ones.” I say all this to say that the belplife T-shirt line is here! This line is dedicated to ALL my Haitians, Americanized, Fresh Off the Boat, and even those that are Haitian by Association. Let’s support one another and keep our brother’s name ALIVE! Jimmy "Belp" Jean is gone, but he will NEVER be forgotten.