The family of Brittney Johnson hopes her message of solidarity with the LGBT community continues after the 29-year-old-lesbian rapper was gunned down in New Orleans on Saturday.
Johnson, who performed under the monikers Bunny and Big Bei, was found dead in the home she shared with another unnamed woman, who was also shot but survived. The two lived in Algiers, one of New Orleans oldest neighborhoods.
The incident took place shortly after 7pm. Police report the couple had been fighting, but did not specify if it was verbal or physical altercation, or if anyone else was involved.
“It was devastating to me,” Johnson’s aunt Rhonda Williams told the Times-Picayune. Growing up in New Orleans is hard for anyone, Williams said, especially as a gay woman of color.
“She thought she had a message that could be received by many others,” Williams said. “She really wanted to connect with the LGBT community and help the younger generation that may have been struggling with self-identity.”
Johnson, a recent graduate of Delgado Community College, was close with her family. Williams said her niece had just moved into the house, and was not sure the nature of the relationship between Johnson and her roommate. There was also a child at the scene, the daughter of one of Johnson’s friends, who was not injured but placed in protective custody.
“She was just a very caring person, just very loving,” Williams said. “That’s what I’m going to miss about her the most.” She stressed that Johnson would want to be remembered “for her efforts to help young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by letting them know through her music that they were not alone.”
She added, “She was just a kind, loving person that really was just trying to find her place in the world. She didn’t deserve this.”