When Plies kicks the bucket, he wants to take a little piece of Trayvon Martin with him. In an interview with Complex.com, the Florida-bred rapper, born Algernod Lanier Washington, shared an unusually strong attachment to the chain he rocks in honor of the slain teen.
"I'm a jewelry guy, but this is probably one of the most valuable pieces to me and close to my heart," Plies said of the piece, a replica of Martin's visage that he picked up after recording "We Are Trayvon Martin" in honor of the high schooler. "[Martin's tragic death] really touched me and I want to always remember that situation, because it really re-focused a lot of people around the country ... this is something I always want to keep around my neck. It always reminds me of where I come from."
Plies notes himself as "an artist that's touched on the struggle," thus getting the chain was merely an extension of his dedication. "I just feel like whether it's Trayvon, or it's a kid in Houston, Texas, or a kid in Pittsburgh, or a kid in New York City, I think this won't be the first and the last time that we are forced to face these kind of issues dealing with some of the things that we consider to be black and white," he continued. "I feel most people that you talk to about this, they feel like it was a clear-cut situation and obviously we were wrong with the outcome of the situation. I think by me having the platform that I do have, it's important for me not to let something like this fall to the wayside."
A Houston jeweler nicknamed "Nick the Iceman" made the piece, which the 37-year-old plans on keeping even after his last breath. "This might sound a little freakish to you, but I told my brother and my mom that if something ever happens to me, I want them to bury me with this chain," he said. "I know it's the kind of stuff that a lot of people don't like to talk about, which is death, but at the end of the day I feel like it means that much to me. If I was to ever give it away, it would probably be to his mom or his dad or to his brother. If they came and told me they wanted it, I would give it to them."
In addition to carrying around a physical tribute, all proceeds from his "We Are Trayvon Martin" will benefit the Martin family and the charity of their choosing.
Martin was gunned down on his way back from a store last February. George Zimmerman, his accused killer, was acquitted of second-degree murder in July.
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(Photo: Big Gates Records)