#CombatCancer: Remembering Reggie Ossé
I first met Reggie through a fuzzy cocktail of friends: Dave, Naud and Marv. After work, I’d go with Dave to tapings of Reggie’s “internet radio show” when it was at PNC Studios in Brooklyn— during The Combat Jack Show's infancy. The energy in that place was bananas, and Combat always showed love.
When he heard I was training to become a yoga instructor, Reggie introduced me to Akim who —instead of extending a fake-invite like most industry spouses would— insisted on taking me to a class with her teacher, Jyll. Jyll would later give me a class slot on Urban Asanas' schedule— my first weekly yoga class ever. I still have the voicemail she left saved in my phone. It was the beginning of a major shift in my trajectory; the birth of my #NotaCubicle one-woman uprising.
Reggie was like that, though— a passionate dot-connector who always seemed sincerely interested in people’s dreams. He was supportive, delightfully inquisitive and borderline nosy! I loved watching him interrogate unsuspecting guests, be a proud Rap Dad to my friends, and looked forward to seeing him at events and shows where, over loud music, we’d talk about anything from Buddhism to industry politics.
To be fully honest, I haven’t spoken the kindest words about Combat over the last year or two. The reasons why aren’t important, but I feel obligated to admit that and not be a hypocrite. Mentors sometimes become titans, but they never cease being human along the way. None of us are infallible.
When I think about my conversations with Combat over the years, one night stands out in particular. During a listening session for Watch The Throne, his prying nature managed to shift what could have been a polite Q&A into a much deeper conversation about the relationship my brother and I had with our dad. As the questions were fired at me, I cautiously reminded myself that Reggie was Half Gossip-Half Concerned, but found myself continuing to answer his questions anyway. When the conversation was over, we hugged and I walked away realizing I had been bracing the whole time— holding back tears. Mr. "Get Ready For Combat" had unexpectedly disarmed me and also made me feel SEEN, much like he’d done with numerous guests on his show.
Connecting with other beings was one of Reggie’s many gifts, and I’m still in such deep disbelief that he’s gone. He was kind of person who shook things up and single-handedly energized a room. Back then, he made the merging of my worlds —music and yoga— feel natural and free of judgement. I'm eternally grateful for that. Witnessing him grow The Combat Jack Show into what we now know it to be was a privilege, and it helped curate a special era of my own life and career that I won't have the proper words to describe any time soon. Thank you for everything, Reggie. The inspiration, the jokes, the kind words. All of it.
LOVE to Akim and the family, Jyll for being the inspirational G that she is, A-King, Premium Pete, Matt Raz, Dallas Penn, DJ Benhameen, Jaislayer and everyone else who's felt his loss these last few weeks.
Dream those dreams,
& then man up,
and live those dreams
because a life without dreams
is black and white,
and the universe flows