After the widow of late actor and comedian Anthony “A.J.” Johnson gave an emotional plea for financial help following her husband’s death, donations have poured into the GoFundMe account she initially suggested wasn’t getting enough support.
At that point by Wednesday morning, the GoFundMe had raised slightly more than $2,600 — a far cry from the account’s goal of $20,000. But after Lexis Jones Mason went public with her grievances and questioned the “fake love” from people who she said promised to donate but never did, the floodgates of contributions opened up majorly.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than $48,000 had been donated to the GoFundMe, ensuring that Mason will get to honor her husband “the way he deserves.”
Leading the donations was Johnson’s fellow comedian and actor, Lil Rel Howery, who is credited with providing the largest single contribution of $4,000, which GoFundMe shows was submitted at some point on Wednesday.
Source: GoFundMe
That seemingly paved the way for a number of other lump sum donations totaling about 1,500 separate contributions that put Mason’s GoFundMe well past its goal.
While Mason didn’t immediately speak on the wave of donations, she did acknowledge some of them on her Instagram stories that showed screenshots of two separate contributions from her apparent sister and another family member, respectively.
Mason spoke with TMZ earlier this week and described how the outpouring of support for her family since Johnson’s death was decidedly not of the financial variety. Mason said she needed the assistance to help pay for a proper funeral for Johnson as well as to support their children and grandchildren.
An emotional Mason said at the time that she was confused at the inconsistency from Johnson’s friends and supporters.
“Y’all say y’all love him,” Mason said before asking: “Where is the love?”
She said the funeral costs were falling squarely on her shoulders, described the lack of immediate support as “just hurtful” and suggested Johnson did not have a life insurance policy for the family to fall back on.
“It’s people that’s saying that they’re gonna give money,” Mason emphasized. “We haven’t received it.”
Anthony “A.J.” Johnson | Source: Lexis Jones Mason / GoFundMe/Lexis Jones Mason
She said she expected funeral costs to be about $15,000 and that she asked for $20,000 on the GoFundMe so that her children could split whatever is left.
Mason was also adamant about people ending what she described as disingenuous condolences.
“If you guys want to give what they want to give, I will appreciate it,” she added. “But please stop the fake love, please stop the fake calls, please stop the fake texts.”
Johnson was found lifeless in a Los Angeles store in early September after a family member reportedly discovered him.
The actor who was widely known for his role on the “Friday” franchise of movies was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead shortly after. There was no official cause of death immediately released.
LyNea Bell, a spokesperson for BH Talent which is the agency that represented Johnson, told Variety Magazine.
“He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold. We will be in constant prayer for his entire family including his wife Lexis, three children, brother Edward ‘Peanut’ Smith, sister Sheila, and lifetime manager and friend Mike D. Please give them the time they need to process and grieve such a huge loss.”
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Source: Francois G. Durand / Getty UPDATED: 6:25 a.m. ET, Sept. 23, 2021 — While death is inevitably a part of life, that truth doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to those who have died. MORE: Rest In Power: Notable Black Folks We Lost In 2020 Keep reading to learn more about the notable Black lives that we’ve lost in 2021. Melvin Van Peebles, the iconic filmmaker and movie director whose groundbreaking work like “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” went on to become cult classics, especially in the Black community, died Tuesday. He was 89 years old. There were no immediate reports for the cause of Van Peebles’ death, which was confirmed by his son, actor and director, Mario Van Peebles, the New York Times reported. Mario Van Peebles publicly remembered his father in an Instagram post on Wednesday that commemorated the 1990 book they co-authored about their professional relationship called, “No Identity Crisis.” Melvin Van Peebles’ impact on the film industry and popular culture at large was undeniable. Widely recognized as the father of Black American Film for such notable contributions as “Watermelon Man,” the artist who became known for being unafraid to cross boundaries, disciplines and traditions in his work was also celebrated for his musical, “Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural,” for which he wrote the music and lyrics as well as an accompanying book of the same name. MadameNoire brought attention to the outpouring of condolences from other Black filmmakers who followed in the footsteps that paved the way for their own success in the entertainment industry. They included touching tributes paying homage to Melvin Van Peebles from such movie and TV luminaries as Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, David Alan Grier, Nelson George, Holly Robinson Peete, Barry Jenkins, Robert Townsend and others. Melvin Van Peebles’ career spanned the course of six decades, beginning in 1957 with the film, “Three Pickup Men for Herrick,” which he directed, produced and wrote, and ending with “Lilly Done the Zampoughi Every Time I Pulled Her Coattail,” a song he initially released as a single in 1971 before re-releasing it in 2012. Other notable projects in which Melvin Van Peebles lent his talents include 1977’s “Greased Lightning” and 1995’s “Panther,” the latter being the film adaptation of his novel of the same name about the Black Panther Party — an award-winning movie that was directed by his son, Mario Van Peebles. Born in Chicago on Aug. 21, 1932, Melvin Van Peebles explained to the New York Times in 2010 why he preferred to be involved with independent projects. “I do what I want to do,” he said matter of factly. Keep reading to learn more about some of the other notable Black people who have died this year.
Lil Rel Steps In Big Time After A.J. Johnson’s Widow Said No One Was Donating To Husband’s GoFundMe  was originally published on

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