MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thursday, thousands of Memphians came together for a common cause: celebrating the life of slain rapper, businessman, and philanthropist Young Dolph.
A mix of musicians and mentors, pastors and politicians paid tribute to the accomplishments and legacy of the 36-year-old Adolph Thornton, Jr., who was shot and killed last month on Airways Boulevard in a still unsolved crime.
More than a dozen speakers - from the Bluff City and beyond - laid out Young Dolph's compassion, creativity, and connection to his community.
He was remembered as a loving partner.
"He was the brilliant man, intelligent man, charming man, he was everything," Young Dolph's partner Mia Jaye.
Speakers also remembered him as a talented brother.
"The legacy that he has built, it just makes us smile," his sister said.
His former principal at Hamilton High School noted how Young Dolph stood out with big dreams.
"He moved differently, he grooved differently, he was built differently," Michael Bates said.
Musicians noted how he made his mark on Memphis, in music and giving back to his Castalia Heights neighborhood.
"Dolph was super smart, driven, passionate, focused, authentic," Allen Parks said.
Younger rappers also acknowledged what Young Dolph meant to the their careers.
"He said, at the end of the day, whatever you want, just go out and get it and be yourself and don't let anyone stop you," Timothy Fletcher said.
Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton also noted Young Dolph's shooting death as a rallying cry to increase the peace.
"Let us build Memphis up and not tear it down. Let's love each other. Let's respect," Herenton said.
At the conclusion of the service, state senator Katrina Robinson read a resolution from the state of Tennessee commemorating Young Dolph's philanthropy, including a $50,000 donation to Hamilton, free turkey delivered to communities each Thanksgiving and free backpacks before each school year.