Submitted by Marcus Robinson
Devon Jackson is a young man who has seen more than many would never imagine to witness.
Devon’s family lived at 47th St. and Shields Ave when he was born. His mother passed when he was very young. He grew up with relatives in a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago known as ‘the Back of the Yards. Devon, who is also known as Debo Gotti, is the youngest of 5 children. He has a brother and 3 sisters.
Devon attended Francis Parkman Elementary Public School, 51st St. & Princeton St., where he realized one of his life dreams of being a multitalented entertainer. He joined with 3 other guys from the area; 47th and 55th St and Princeton Ave, also of Chicago’s south side. Each with a passion for Rapping, they would often battle one another, meeting daily at school with new rhymes.
As time went by Devon began to concentrate more on his drumming career. He enjoys drumming the most. This is when the set tripping started and the guys he knew as friends back in Grammar school became opponents. They would each come to blows with the other.
Devon became a member of a performing group called ‘Dog Pound Killa Pack’ from 47th St & Princeton Ave. Devon says his old buddy’s Jeff and Ali are from 51st St. and Princeton Ave and were a part of a performing group ‘Out Laws’. Things never got to the point of any one getting seriously hurt but they would beat each other up if you were caught. “It was just kid stuff” said Devon, as I interviewed him by way of Facebook.
As time passed and they grew older, the 3 realized they had some of the same goals. This strengthened their friendship. When the business of Rap got stronger in Chicago they made it official and came together in business forming an independent label, B. B. F. (Back Block Family). Back Block represents 47th St. and Shields Ave. where Devon was born. It’s where they all meet up to throw Parties which promotes their business and vision.
I met Devon back in 2007 while taking photos at Fuller Park. He’s grown to be a fine young black man. I introduced him into modeling. One of his sisters, Donita Jackson, works and is doing well for herself too. Devon is now himself a father.
I have watched this group of fellows come up in the gym at Fuller Park. It’s funny how Devon introduced himself to me asking me ‘what school did I attend?’ which makes me add this fact; Devon also attended the Carry Jacobs Bond Elementary Public School at 7050 S. May St. in Chicago. Sadly, Francis Parkman Elementary School has closed down. The shuttered building still stands and life goes on.
Chicago has plenty of talented young black brothers and sisters. You’ve probably seen Devon on television playing the buckets at the United Center and didn’t know it, or perhaps somewhere on the street passing him by.
Next time you are driving along 47th St at the Dan Ryan Expressway and see Devon or any other street musician, drop a dollar or 10 for Devon, his family, friends and business.
Photography by Marcus Robinson