The auditorium of Berkman Hall at Cleveland State University was filled to capacity as at least a thousand people, near and far, citizens from the Glenville community along with Councilman Kevin Conwell and others came to pay tribute to a legendary manager and humanitarian Robert J. McQueen III known to all as Rob J.
Robert was manager of Cleveland’s renowned Bone Thugs N Harmony. He aided in developing and mapping the future for the then young group, which is remembered, for the hit songs “Crossroads”, “1st of the Month”, and “Thuggish Ruggish Bone”. His sudden passing left an indelible mark on the community in which he was raised as he touched the lives of so many.
Ms. Yvonne Pointer, an anti-violence activist and motivational speaker stated, “Robert was my ‘Go to guy’. When looking for activities for the development of youth and the expansion of activities for youth, it was Robert who taught what the children needed and what we should do. At a time when I needed healing, he was there to help me to heal so that I could aid in the healing of others. He aided me in planning and putting forth Midnight Basketball which helped to save the lives of many of our young people because there was something else for them to do.” The activities in the Glenville community were the brainchild of Robert as he continued to give back to his people and his community. According to Ms. Pointer, “Robert was the one to call. He called me Momma P and said, Momma P, I’ve got you.”
Robert touched thousands of children and young men’s lives. One of those touched by his kindness, Isaiah Blackston sang a rendition of the song, “It’s So Hard to Say God-Bye to Yesterday.” The overwhelming display of emotion emitted from the joint voices of the congregants who attended with tears and love.
His son Chris stated, “I remember the last thing that my dad said to me. He said, Chris try to be a man. Take care of your family and take care of your baby. After that, I never had the chance to speak to my father again”. He also stated that he got a text from his dad that read; “A man who has power and does not use it for good then it does not mean anything. He told me to use my power.”
Robert had a pied piper mentality, which was a draw to those who were around him. It pushed them to a level of excellence and success so that they would become more so that they could aspire to be more.
Steven Howse (Layzie Bone) of Bone Thugs N Harmony stated to me “Robert was that glue which held his group, his family and him together; he was my right hand man”. He held us all together. “He was my business partner and my friend.”
Bone Thugs N Harmony, family and friends, and the entire community displayed their love for him throughout the celebration; we were all one family, one community.
Robert’s young cousin RayShawn Jackson reflected as others did because of Robert’s influence in his life. “Robert taught and schooled me on how to play football. It disciplined me for life and for my family. When I was blessed with a son, I taught my son as Robert taught me.”
Robert McQueen was a gentle giant of a man, a product of the projects who became a man in the community. He received the love of his friends and his enemies because of his giving spirit. He earned the respect and love throughout Glenville and all of Cleveland.
Proclamations were read from Mayor Jackson, Cleveland City Council and organizations throughout the city. Robert’s mother, Lela McQueen stated, “He made momma proud. He was full of love, loyalty and devoted to his family.” Robert was not a man who played in the NFL as a star, but he was a star in the game of life, which he played so well that we all knew him, and loved him.
The Gaines Funeral Home, under the direction of Kay Gaines, gave Robert an excellent presentation and took him on one last journey through his beloved Glenville neighborhood where he will always be remembered.