suntimes
CRACKLING 
Weather Updates

Twitter becomes forum for grief, anger outrage over slain baby Jonylah

Lil Durk whose real name is Durk Banks.  He is signed Def Jam

Lil Durk, whose real name is Durk Banks. He is signed to Def Jam

storyidforme: 46061394
tmspicid: 17079724
fileheaderid: 7690400

Updated: April 14, 2013 6:34AM



A Chicago rapper who normally uses Twitter to promote his music and post profanity-laced updates about his life took to the social networking site to express grief and anger about the murder of a baby.

He had a message not usually heard from him or his pals.

Lil Durk, the rapper, posted: “Crazy Lil N----- go around shooting vans up that all look alike ... not knowing its [sic.] a baby in there.” He Tweeted and posted on Instagram with a montage of photos, including two of the baby. “You Lil mfers [sic.] that thirsty for a name if you really want a name N----- graduate from high school go to college get a degree make something of yourself make your family proud ... killing babies go against every street code ... y’all not savages for shooting a baby you just dumb with no aim.”

Jonylah Watkins died Tuesday after the 6-month-old was shot while her father changed her diaper in a minivan.

Hundreds of people took to Twitter in disbelief ­— “RIP Jonylah” was a common sentiment as the tiny victim was mourned. People in Chicago and from all over the country decried the slaying of the infant and offered condolences to the family. They posted pictures of the bright-eyed child and asked others to do the same out of respect.

“Absolutely Heartbreaking,” one Twitter user wrote.

The family spokesman, the Rev. Corey Brooks, also used the site to post updates on the baby’s condition before she died Tuesday.

“I want to thank everyone for the prayers on behalf of Jonylah and her family. Unfortunately she passed this morning,” he Tweeted.

Politicians weighed in — Robin Kelly, a candidate for Congress, posted a statement that said “We must work together to make our neighborhoods safer and tackle the root problems of gangs and gun violence, or we will lose more innocent children. None of us should accept this as normal.”

And celebrities voiced their thoughts, too. Russell Simmons, one of the founders of Def Jam Recordings, posted: “Sending prayers to Jonylah Watkins, the 6-month-old who was shot yesterday has passed.”

Meanwhile, Lil Durk wrote he was also praying for the girl. The rapper’s real name is Durk Banks. He is signed to Def Jam.

Lil Durk, a pal of Chief Keef and Lil Reese, himself has had his share of gun-related troubles. He’s currently on parole for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, according to authorities. (He said he’s matured since he was charged in 2011.) And he and his allies were rival rappers of murdered rapper Lil Jojo (Joseph Coleman), who wrote a rap attacking Lil Durk before he was slain. (Lil Durk said he had nothing to do with the feud and wasn’t responding to Lil Jojo’s attacks.)

Lil Durk is soon to be the father of a little girl, one of the reasons he’s been so moved by Jonylah’s death, he told the Chicago Sun-Times

“This is no regular killing in Chicago,” he said.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.