Remembering Breon Austin

Keymiah Armstrong

Exactly a week before Breon left us, he was telling me that his mom was making him go to military school. He didn’t really want to go, but I just laughed at him. I told him that it was going to be good for him and that it would be nice to take a break from DC. He was worried about his clothing line and adjusting to a new environment. For a while, Breon talked about being able to graduate early if he attended military school, and how time was moving so fast that he was becoming an adult.

On April 19, he was shot and killed in a space where he was supposed to feel safe. He was in the right place at the wrong time.

Breon was born in Holy Cross Hospital in Maryland. After attending Park View Elementary, he went to Paul Public Charter School and later transferred to Alice Deal Middle School, where he developed his passion for basketball. Breon’s friends remember him for his sense of humor, his compassion, his dependability, and his drive. His mother remembers him as warm-hearted, artistic and fiercely protective. Though he was only a sophomore, Breon was full of ambition, and had big plans to expand his clothing brand, Bagshxt. The Wilson community has been completely shaken by his loss.  

I only knew Breon for about two years, but it feels like I knew him longer because he was such a genuine person. He had a vivid personality and could light up a room. He was only 16 years old, very young in age, but a man at heart and in his mind. Bre was so special and unique. He was different, he was nothing like anyone else. He was so loving, caring, compassionate, genuine, humble, and respectful.

I was so excited for his brand, Bagshxt, which he started in 2018. It was definitely on the come up! At first, he created t-shirts, and then some sweatshirts. In the spring, he posted a picture on Instagram of a pair of jeans on which he had hand-painted “Bagshxt” down the leg. Everybody loved them. People were asking how much he would charge for them and how soon they could get a pair, so he started making more jeans and customizing them.

Bre was extremely creative and innovative. All he really wanted to do was use his mind and talent to design clothing for people to wear. Bre and I had major plans for his line, which I was going to help promote. Breon knew what he wanted to do and he was taking every single step to get there. He had so much more to design, and it was just the beginning for him. He was nowhere near finished. I just wanted him to make it, whether it was in basketball or his clothing line.

Every time I saw Breon, I would make sure he was okay. I’d tell him, “I care about you, man,” and he’d just smile and tell me that he was good, and that he cared about me too. He always wanted someone to take his picture—he was definitely fly, I’m not gonna lie. After he left, I came across pictures I took of him on my phone. It made me feel like he was watching over his family and close friends. I believe in things like that. I feel as though his spirit is around so many of us. Ever since he passed, I’ve noticed little things, like signs and pictures. I swear I can feel his energy and his presence. I talk to him as if he were standing right in front of me. It’s very comforting.

A lot of people do not understand how death affects the Black community. It takes a huge toll on us and is not talked about enough. The emotional and mental well-being of Black people has plummeted due to the murders in our community. We are often conflicted within ourselves and others who surround us due to the fact that these problems are so common. Our experience with loss is different because of the relentless killings that place a burden on the community.  

Breon’s death was unexpected. So many goodbyes were left unsaid. It hurts to talk about him using the past tense, because I know he’s still around, he’s just not physically here. I just hope he’s okay and that he’s happy. I’m grateful to have had Bre in my life while he was here. The memories we shared keep me going. I wish I could share his space again. He was special and he still is. Bre was a vibe man.

You should be here Bre, you know it.