FAMU loses ardent supporter in Kofi Hemmingway

Hemmingway passed away on Thursday

All HBCUS have them.  People who seem to live every minute of their lives supporting the institution.  They will point out flaws at times, but for the most part, they are patriots for the school, protecting it from all comers.  For Florida A&M, Kofi Hemmingway was the epitome of this type of supporter.  As they often say about loyal fanatics, he bled orange and green.

Hemmingway, 52, passed on Thursday in his home in Jacksonville, FL.  He was a minister with Global Prophetic Training & Worship Embassy.  He was known to be prophetic, traveling the country spreading the word at conferences and revivals all across the southeast.

His most recent popularity came from his appearance as one of the hosts of O&G Strike Zone.  O&G Strike Zone is a weekly broadcast on Youtube as part of the Jericho Broadcasting Network.  The show would focus on all things FAMU.  It is centered around sports, but the show would often have subjects outside of athletics and even outside of FAMU.  He would also make guest appearances on OffScript, an in-your-face talk show that was involved heavily in HBCUs sports matters.

Hemmingway, rear with his daughter Majesty, and his wife Akeisha and daughter Lourdess in the front.

Kelvin Rosier, a childhood and lifelong friend, was stunned at the sudden passing.  “I am still in shock.  I got maybe an hour sleep last night.  It just doesn’t seem real,” Rosier said.

FAMU head coach Willie Simmons was also taken aback by Hemmingway’s sudden passing. “We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of one of FAMU’s beloved supporters! Kofi was not only an ambassador of FAMU and FAMU Athletics, but he was also a family friend as well as our kid’s tennis instructor,” Simmons said.  “ He utilized his voice for good through O&G Strike Zone and he will surely be missed! We’re thankful that we were able to be blessed by the beautiful spirit that was Kofi Hemingway and may his memory live on through all who loved him!”

“Scotty”, the host of OffScript was visibly distraught on Friday as he did a special tribute to Hemmingway.  He literally could not get his words out.  With head bowed wearing a FAMU hat in tribute to Hemmingway, he did his show in tears with another tribute show scheduled to be broadcasted soon.  He would post the CashApp handles of Hemmingway’s wife and daughters asking for watchers to contribute to the family.

Tributes to Hemmingway flood social media

That sentiment was echoed on social media Thursday and Friday as the news spread through the FAMU community.  Hundreds of posts from disbelieving alumni spotted Twitter and Facebook, with many posting photos with the ever-inviting Hemmingway.

Hemmingway’s parents brought him up at FAMU.  He attended FAMU High School as an elementary and middle schooler.  His father Dr. Theodore Hemmingway was one of FAMU’s most popular Black History professors.  His mother Dr. Beulah Hemmingway is one of FAMU’s most storied English teachers.  He had no choice but to be a Rattler.

“He was a larger than life figure in many ways.  He was tall in stature, he had a big voice and commanded attention when he entered a room,” Vaughn Wilson said.  “I was one of the people who grew up with Kofi.  Our parents were close friends so he would stay at our house and we’d stay at his.  That’s how we did back in the day.”

Hemmingway was an avid tennis player who played on the FAMU tennis team, and was a member of the FAMU Marching “100.”  FAMU Director of Marching Bands, Dr. Shelby Chipman, wrote a sincere post to Hemmingway.  “My Lord, here in Miami and completely shocked and saddened to hear Kofi Hemmingway passed away. He was a “Strong” Rattler and Marching ‘100’ supporter. Let’s all pray for his wife, kids, parents, and family’s strength…RIP my friend,” Chipman said.

Hemmingway also gained national attention as the stadium announcer at Bragg Stadium for football games.  He earned the job in 2016 after taking part in a national reality show produced by FAMU Athletics called “The New Voice of Bragg.”  The three-show series was aired on YouTube and Fox Sports Network Southeast.  Hemmingway would emerge as the winner on the show and would announce games from 2016-2018 in Bragg Stadium as well as Camping World Stadium for the Florida Blue Florida Classic.  Hemmingway immediately coined a phrase that resides with him today. “Make some noise!  Make some more noise,” he would say to help root on his beloved FAMU Rattlers.

The sentiment for Hemmingway was repeated over and over on the internet through the weekend. He is survived by his wife Akeisha and daughters Lourdess and Majesty.

FAMU loses ardent supporter in Kofi Hemmingway
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