[UPDATE:] Sam’s family released a statement that read:
“It is with great sadness that the family of Samuel Sarpong, Jr. must share the news that Sam has passed away. The circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation and no additional details are known at this time. Information about final arrangements will be forthcoming. The family appreciates the thoughts prayers and other expressions of sympathy, and request their privacy be respected at this extremely difficult time. Samuel Sarpong Jr. is survived by his father Samuel Sarpong Sr., and his sister June Sarpong. Samuel Sarpong was 40 years old.”
Famous model and former co-host of MTV’s Yo Momma, Sam Sarpong has died at the age of 40.
According to the Pasadena Police Department, the British-American actor and model jumped off a bridge in Pasadena, California earlier this week. We are told that Sampong jumped after a seven-hour exchange with officials.
“The individual demonstrated suicidal tendencies and members of the Pasadena Police Department Crisis Negotiation Team responded and established dialog with the male, (40 years of age and Pasadena resident),” a press release by the police department read. “While conversing with the individual, members of his family arrived and provided background regarding his emotional state. Tragically, after approximately seven hours of communication, the male jumped from the bridge into the Arroyo. He was pronounced deceased by Pasadena Fire Paramedics at 3:52 PM.”
Wilmer Valderrama posted an emotional message on Instagram with a photo of he and Sarpong.
“I am so sad & so confused.. Sam did it all, believed in dreaming bigger than anyone around him.. We made memories together that will last us forever, thank you for sharing your talent with me and the world.. You were a light everywhere you went and I couldn’t be more proud of the journey you traveled.. You just left us too early Sam.. We will miss you and pray for you.. Once again thank you for all those years you dedicated to our show, we couldn’t have done it without you!”
He added, “Find your peace my brother! And to everyone in a dark place.. PLEASE, please talk to someone.. Anyone.. Trust me that we WILL listen.. You are not alone, there are so many people that feel the same darkness, let’s help one another, let us shine hope on all those that need our understanding!! Reach out to someone and make your first step towards living a life you deserve. My prayers and heart are with family and friends that were blessed to know his beautiful soul #RIPSamSarpong.”
Sarpong moved to Los Angeles when he was 11 years old and appeared in a several shows and movies, including Love Don’t Cost A Thing, Family Matters, Pacific Blue and ER.
Sam was also one of the first black male models for designer Tommy Hilfiger and served as the face of the brand for over six years. Recently, Sarpong served as the host of the BET Awards pre-show All Access.
‘GQ’ Cover Star LeBron James Has Hard Yet Necessary Convo W/ His Kids About Racism
It is a conversation that is difficult yet necessary: Racism.
For LeBron James, that conversation was had in depth after someone spray pained the N-word all over his Brentwood home. In a new interview with GQ magazine, the November cover star opened up about the emotional discussion with his sons and daughter.
“It’s heavy when a situation occurs either with myself or with someone in a different city, i.e., Trayvon, Mike Brown. I have to go home and talk to my 13- and 10-year-old sons, even my 2-year-old daughter, about what it means to grow up being an African-American in America,” he said about feeling the “twoness” in America.
He continued, “Because no matter how great you become in life, no matter how wealthy you become, how people worship you, or what you do, if you are an African-American man or African-American woman, you will always be that.”
James explained, “True colors will show, and it showed for me during the playoffs, where my house in Brentwood, California, one of the f*cking best neighborhoods in America, was vandalized with, you know, the N-word. And that shit puts it all back into perspective. So do I use my energy toward that? Or do I now shed a light on how I can use this negative to turn into a positive, because so many people are looking for what I’m going to say.”
That’s when he unveiled, “I had a conversation with my kids. I let them know this is what it is, this is how it’s going to be. When it’s time for y’all to fly, you’ll have to understand that. When y’all go out in public and y’all start driving or y’all start moving around, be respectful to cops, as much as you can. When you get pulled over, call your mom or dad, put it on speakerphone, and put your phone underneath the seat. But be respectful the whole time.”
Earlier this year multiple LAPD units responded to James’ California home when neighbors saw the word scrawled on the outer gate. At the time, James suggested that when it comes to racial inequality, “we have a long way to go.”
Click here to read James’ entire GQ article.
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