Keith Brubaker: September 1, 1969- January 5, 2008…
Keith Alan Brubaker was the kind of gentle giant that seemed to come from nowhere, the kind of smiling man that seemed to walk out of the sun itself. Even if you’d known him for years, for even your whole life, you could catch yourself literally falling into the Grand Canyon of his smile and loving his spirit so much you’d find yourself asking: Dear God, where did you find the stars to place inside his smile? Just how precisely did you make him?
That said, at Wondaland we got used to business friends, music industry colleagues and tech industry associates glancing around in amazement before asking us the inevitable question: “Where’d you get this guy Keith? How’d you meet him? He’s incredible.”
On quiet days when we felt like telling tall tales, we would smile and tell these people that Keith a.k.a. Yaya Shabazz a.k.a Planetsram had answered an ad we placed in the Nubian International News that read:
Unstoppable superhero needed to help change the world. Period.
Then we would say that when we met Keith we partnered with him on the spot and gave him two immediate missions. The first mission was to help code a monumental website named BlabStar that would change music forever. The second mission was to usher in a new era of music by managing the immense online operations of a revolutionary music company known as the Wondaland Arts Society.
Keith approached these tasks with ease, like a 21st century Hercules. Coding came easy: he was mathematically brilliant, the kind of guy who added up the license plate digits of the car ahead of him as he drove his darling children across town or to school. And he had no idea what normal working business hours meant: he was simply always working.
Chief among his Internet responsibilities was the management of all of the online properties of the rising superstar Ms. Janelle Monáe. Somehow Keith found the time to not only administer all her web pages, but also to shadow Ms. Monáe at events and concerts, protecting her from harm, from gusts of cigarette smoke, from obnoxious fans. Although he had a gentle spirit, he used his superpowered dreadlocks, and his brawn to scare assailants—and when these didn’t work, he always had his explosive disarming smile.
Keith is still with us. He came from the earth and from the sun, from the wind and the rain, and he is there in all of these things, wrapping his dreadlocks, wrapping his peaceful smile around us all.
Wondaland would like to say thank you to Chandra and the children for allowing us into Keith’s life, and to God for giving us the chance to meet this living, neverending hero of a man.
To the universe we shout his name and sing it boldly forever in the key of love, screaming out to the stars thank you, thank you, thank you.