Roc-A-Blok president Stephen Henderson and hit “De Ja Vu” hit wonder Bronx rapper Peter Gunz were among an estimated 500 mourners who attended the East Bronx wake and funeral Thursday for Sporty Thievz mic-controller Marlon Brando after his fatal motor vehicle accident the week before.
McCall’s Funeral Home (229th Street and Bronxwood Avenue near White Plains Road) became so congested with mourners, that many people who visited to pay their respects to Brando had to watch the proceedings on televisions outside the room were the services were conducted. Brando was interred Friday at Mount Hope cemetery at Hastings-On-the-Hudson, adjacent to Yonkers, with approximately 200 mourners in attendance.
The Yonkers, N.Y.-based Brando, who also went by the additional nom de hip-hop Robin Hood, died of internal bleeding an hour after he was struck May 10 by a van operated a drunken driver that jumped the curb after hitting a median on Fordham Road in the North Bronx. He was 22 years old.
According to witnesses, Brando, whose legal name was Marland Bryan, shoved his small cousin out of the oncoming van’s path at approximately 3 a.m. before himself receiving the impact that knocked him to the ground. Brando then rose to his feet for a moment and then sat down complaining of pain and dizziness before he was rushed to a hospital where he died, they also observed.
R&B crooner Kibwe Dorsey, who sang the hook on Sporty Thievz’s, “No Pigeons” said he owes a debt of gratitude to Brando and will sorely miss him. Brando appears on Dorsey’s up-tempo Gold & Platinum single “Whatever You Like” and an unreleased version of the singer’s down tempo underground hit single “Sunshine or Moonlight.”
“He was the person who said, ‘Can you come out and do this [the “No Pigeons” hook]?'” Dorsey said Monday. “He brought up that ‘it would be a good idea to have Kibwe on the record.’ When I asked him to record with me for ‘Whatever You Like,’ he said, ‘You didn’t have to ask me the same time’ and waited for us at the Gun Hill stop on the Metro North [commuter railroad passing through the Bronx]. We were late, but there was no complaint—just excitement and readiness to do the project with us. They [Sporty Thievz] had a record deal, they were making money, and all that hadn’t changed him. I’ll miss him spiritually, but I know he’s in a better place where we all want to be and I’m glad I have made a record with him.”
A born again-Christian, Brando had finishing recording a new album with Sporty Thievz on their Yonkers-based do-it-yourself indie label Stealburg Records. Brando is survived by his one-month old son and his father, who lives in the Bronx. His mother preceded him in death. Donations to a trust fund set up for Brando’s son can be sent by visiting www.stealburgrecords.com, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or phoning (914) 969-7057.