Just got word, one of the greatest and most influential martial artists Jim Kelly aka Blackbelt Jones has passed away.. I recall seeing Jim Kelly as a kid alongside Bruce Lee.. His presence was appreciated and inspired many, especially at a time when Black folks were really into defining themselves on their own terms..When we talk about the influence Bruce Lee and his movies had on Hip Hop, we can’t really have that conversation and not include Jim Kelly..
believe it or not I knew Jim Keely not just for his martial arts movies, but also because he played tennis, which was my sport growing up.. Him and basketball great Dr J played tennis.. and that was an inspiration to me..
Not sure why he passed, as far as I knew, he wasn’t sick, but for far too many of us, we hadn’t been checking for him the way we should..I know he was making appearances at events like Wondercon, but we weren’t shouting him out in songs and making those references like we do with so many others like a John Gotti..I was also curious as to whether or not Wesley Snipes had ever worked with Kelly being that he came up at a time when Kelly had a strong presence
RIP Blackbelt Jones