SOL GUY: My dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
He was 49 years old, I was 20.
So I thought I would sit down and do some of these tapes to be left behind, you know.
NATASHA DEL TORO: Filmmaker Sol Guy never watched the videos his dad left behind until 20 years later, when the stepfather who raised him was also dying.
(both laughing) DEL TORO: "The Death of My Two Fathers," on America ReFramed.
♪ ♪ CROWD: Four, three, two, one!
BOY: Come on!
(crowd cheers) (birds and crickets chirping) ♪ ♪ So, my name is Shakur, and I am your son.
SOL: So I'm your dad?
SOL: What's that like so far?
- Uh, good.
SOL: I like having you as a son.
- I like you having me as... (both laughing) I like that you're my dad.
SOL: Aw... ♪ ♪ SOL: You're 11 here.
You're 13 now.
You'll watch this when you're 14, or maybe 23 or 45, I don't know.
Who knows what this footage will look like by the time you watch it?
Like how this footage from '88, when I was your age, looks to me now.
- Yeah, I'm from Grand Forks, too, and I play basketball and I ski.
SOL: It was all high-tech and amazing then.
Now it just looks like ancient times.
SOLEIL: Okay, so my name is Soleil Guy.
(laughing) SOL: So you're my daughter?
SOL: How old are you?
- I'm 14 years old.
♪ ♪ SOL: You're going to be 16 when you see this.
Maybe you'll watch it with your brother or maybe one day with your own daughter.
Or maybe we're all sitting together right now.
What does family mean to you?
Family means, um, being together with people that you love and like to be with.
SOL: I feel you, my love.
But the hard truth is, we spent the majority of our lives apart.
I made this film 'cause I wanted you to know more about me and the story of our family.
What I didn't know was how much I would learn about who we are through the death of my two fathers.
But before I get into all that, I want to tell you about the Champ, Muhammad Ali.
The greatest of all time.
BOTH: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
SOL: He won the Olympic gold medal at 19 years old and went on to win the heavyweight title three times.
When he was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, he refused.
ALI: My conscience won't let me go shoot my brother for big, powerful America.
And shoot them for what?
They never called me (muted).
REPORTER: He is sentenced to five years in prison, the maximum penalty for the offense, which is a felony.
SOL: He lost everything: his title, his money.
Couldn't box, couldn't leave the country.
But he inspired a whole generation.
Muhammad Ali has just said we are all victims of the same system of oppression.
SOL: That's why I wear this hat, because it reminds me.
It reminds me of my purpose.
ALI: Everything God created has a purpose.
See, ten men with the knowledge of their purpose are more powerful than a thousand men working from morning until evening and who don't know their purpose.
SOL: He said, "We fight for poor people and little people, "because that's the gift we give to our children, "to hopefully make the path a little easier than the one we had."
And that's what I want to share with you about the Champ, about Ali.
That we don't run from fear.
We don't turn our back on those less fortunate than ourselves.
And that I read this biography about his life with my father, because what I just told you about Ali, my dad told me.
Now I want to tell you about my father, your grandfather, William Richard Guy.
He was my, my first hero.
I kind of fancied him a bit of a superman.
I looked to him for guidance, for approval.
WILLIAM: As you can see, I've set up the, uh, tripod in here.
I'm going to spend as many days in here as I possibly can.
Well, gang... (sniffs) It's probably been about four days since I found out the... news... that the... disease, disease has its clutches into me.
So I thought I would sit down and, uh, do some of these tapes to be left behind, you know.
You guys can hold the memories.
SOL: My father, your grandfather, sat in a chair similar to this one, looking at a camera similar to this one.
He'd been diagnosed with cancer, and in the last year of his life, he recorded six tapes of who he was and how he came to be.
SOL: He recorded a couple of hours of them on his own.
And then your Aunt Shoshana sat down, long before she become a journalist, and interviewed him.
SHOSHANA: Maybe you should just start out by saying, "I was born to..." - "I was born to"?
- I was born to such and such and such and such.
And then... - I was born to...
I knew those tapes were around from around when they were recorded.
So you got yourself a new camera.
Checking it out?
SOL: But I didn't understand what it meant.
I was living in New York.
Bye, we'll see you again soon.
DAVID: Let me take a picture of you and your dad.
SOL: I was 24, 25 years old-- a little younger, even.
GROUP: ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ (cheer and applaud) SOL: I was-- "sad" would be the wrong word.
I was, I was devastated when he, when he died, but I didn't understand what that meant in my life or how much it would affect me.
It took me years to figure that out.
SHOSHANA: Thanks for sharing all that stuff.
Thank you for... Yeah, 'cause I was kind of getting lost, you know, kind of doing it by myself.
- Yeah, it's hard.
SOL: We got copies of the tape almost immediately after he passed.
And I packed those tapes around.
Like, they were on VHS, they were on mini-DV tapes, DVDs.
I knew they were there, I always had them with me, all the places I moved.
You know, when you guys were born, I had those tapes with me, but I'd never watched them.
Me and your Auntie Sho grew up in a small town in Canada, around mostly White people.
I never really met the Black side of our family.
This is my mom, your oma.
And this is your grandpa Freye, my stepfather.
Long before Mom met Freye, she met Dad in Washington, D.C.
It was the '60s.
The country was coming apart.
They couldn't take it, so they split.
A few years ago, I was living in L.A. watching history repeat itself, and I started thinking about my dad, wondering what happened with the family he left behind.
And I was, like, "Man, I need to watch those tapes."
And then I looked at them, yeah, a couple of years ago, almost, close to 20 years after they were made, a little less.
I always knew that I was going to do something different.
Something different than the people around me were going to do.
I never knew what that was, but I always had a feeling that I was going to do something different.
The more I went into it, the more unconventional and unique it, it... ...it became.
Being an only child in the, um, neighborhood that I grew up in was a rarity.
Just me and my mom.
We were quite poor, and, you know, we didn't have a lot of money for a lot of things.
But in those days, you didn't...
There wasn't a lot of things you needed, wasn't a lot of things to be had.
If you had a bicycle, you were, you, you had just about everything you needed.
Ride all over the place.
Childhood was full of adventure.
Anyway, I'm going to cut it off here a little bit, and check the recording, make sure I'm doing this properly.
Make sure I didn't cut my head off or something.
You guys have to put up with me.
This is an amateur recording.
I love you guys.
I love you guys so much.
♪ ♪ What I didn't realize about watching the tapes was how much I'd had avoided them and why I'd avoided them, because it was quite difficult to watch them.
And it took me back into a place where I had kind of boxed something up and put it away to deal with it as best I can, but I've come to learn that it's not the best way to deal with your, your, the things that are difficult for you.
- Come on, Dukie.
- Here you are, bad man, come on.
- Look at all you produced down here.
Come on, slowpoke.
(all talking at once) - This here's your kinfolk, Pops.
- Yeah, here we all are.
Here we all are.
- Are you slouching down, Daddy?
- I don't want to block out faces in the back.
SOL: Over the course of his life, my dad had five children with three women.
(all exclaiming) SOL: That's my brother Richard, Jr. Muscles.
This is what I did to him on the basketball court.
I said... (makes swooshing noise) SOL: I only met him once.
WILLIAM: Here's these numbskulls, here they are in Canada.
- Yeah, right.
(laughs) SOL: And that's my eldest sister, Travistine.
- Numbskulls, here they are.
(laughs) WILLIAM: They don't know what they're doing.
- (laughing) WILLIAM: Can't figure out the money.
- (laughing) WILLIAM: Come up to the border, too scared to say anything.
SOL: I barely knew her.
I'd only met her twice, well, besides our father's funeral.
♪ ♪ My dad basically left her behind in Kansas City, Missouri, where he grew up.
It's a place I'd never been to.
If I'm being honest, the tapes, they brought up some tough questions.
Was she abandoned?
Did my brother die so I could live this life?
RICHARD: Oh, there's Sol.
TRAVISTINE: Look at him!
RICHARD: Look at the movie star.
SOL: Would I have gone to prison?
Would I be dead if my father hadn't left his first two kids behind?
The answers weren't in the tapes, but there were a few clues.
(tape rewinding) I hated that place we lived in.
There would be rats underneath my bed.
Well, when I watched the tapes, it became very clear to me that, um... That I needed to... To go to where my father was born.
Old Jimmy, he, he's got a lot of our family history.
- But, yeah, Richard was born in Waterloo.
- And we had a great time together.
Yeah, he was like my little brother.
He used to follow me around and all.
- He felt like you were his brother, because he, you know, he was an only child.
- Yeah, and I'm the only child.
- So... SOL: We call him Uncle Jimmy, but it's his cousin, because their mothers were sisters.
You know, I was an only kid, so he was my companion.
I talked to him all the time.
- We were, like, buddies, you know?
SOL: He's here in L.A., and so I...
I just reached out to him and I told him what I was doing.
I talked him into going to Waterloo, Iowa.
Do I GPS or can you get us there?
JIMMY: No, we can get there.
- I'll direct you.
- Old-school GPS.
- Old, old-school GPS.
♪ ♪ Found it?
- Ain't that something?
- I just wanted you to see that.
SOL: Your great-great-grandfather, William Henry Guy, was born into a family held captive in either Mississippi or Alabama, far from where our ancestors came from.
In the community, Black community in America, it's, like, people's, like, there's a cutoff point.
You can only go-- even us, we can only go back so far.
JIMMY: You go back so far, yeah.
♪ ♪ SOL: What we do know is that my great-grandfather William was part of the first generation of Black Americans allowed to leave their captors' property.
And he got a job on the railroad in either Mississippi or Alabama.
(all singing) SOL: Mississippi was 60% Black, but my great-grandfather couldn't vote.
Segregation was strictly enforced and the slave patrol just changed their name.
They'd find any excuse to arrest Black people and put them back to work on the plantations.
(man singing) In Lumberton, Mississippi, he met a young lady named Mollie Mae, and they followed that railroad north.
JIMMY: He eventually ended up in Iowa.
This was a good place to raise his family.
SOL: They had four children.
Two of their daughters would grow up to become the mothers of Uncle Jimmy and my father, your grandfather.
WILLIAM: I was born to Mollie Mae Guy, June 18, 1944.
- In Waterloo, Iowa.
There was always an assumption that you had a father, but I never knew him.
You know, at school was the main one.
You were a bastard.
People would call you that.
And I remember making up stories about how I had a father, but he was killed in the war.
- And I stuck with that one.
I think I still tell people that on occasion.
(both laughing) JIMMY: And I remember when his mother, your grandmother, decided to go to Kansas City.
♪ ♪ WILLIAM: By the time I was three, Mom moved to Kansas City.
There was a lot happening in Kansas City, a lot of jobs, there was a lot of work there.
My mother wasn't home a lot, she'd work till 10:00 some nights cleaning people's houses.
SHOSHANA: Tell us the story about when you went to work with Mollie.
- I must have been 11, 12 years old.
It was a big party, but we were downstairs.
We were running around having fun, kid stuff, you know.
I overheard this whole conversation about how you can't trust those Colored folks.
And I realized that they were talking about me and this girl, because I guess they thought I was going to screw their daughter or something, you know, out there-- at the age of 12, they thought I was going to rape her or something.
I don't know what the hell they thought, but... And that was the first time that it really, it crossed my mind that, you know, that I had been shunned mainly for being Black.
You know, that was the last time I ever went out there.
And so I was a latchkey kid.
I'd come home and fix myself supper, fix my own lunch, and make breakfast, things of that nature.
There were some real rough moments.
There were some times where we would be living, boy, it was so damn cold.
You got those window panes and the ice would build up this thick on the inside of them.
I remember one place we were living, I hated that place we lived in.
Those damn rats would be back there.
They'd be under the bed, (muted) around, doing something, making a whole bunch of noise.
Scared the (muted) out of me.
Mom never had a steady boyfriend, and she's had a couple that wanted to beat on her, you know.
Those were hard times.
Those were real hard times.
SOL: Am I right that each summer, his mom would send him up here?
Yeah, she would send him here for the summer.
My mother seemed to really enjoy that, having her nephew around.
WILLIAM: I looked forward for that train trip every year.
That was the best, 'cause I was on my own.
Mom would just send me by myself.
Well, it was an overnight trip on the train.
And it was just the adventure of my lifetime.
(laughing) It really was-- those were really good times.
Getting on that old train.
(imitating train chugging) ♪ ♪ (whistle blowing) This is the service station that my dad owned.
WILLIAM: He had the only Black service station that I knew of in Waterloo.
JIMMY: We had a car wash, repair bays, we had a lift.
We had new cars, nice clothes.
My dad was a good money manager.
WILLIAM: You gotta realize that me and Mom were pretty poor, so I would go up there, and, boy, I was living like a king.
You know, most of the time, I had my own room.
You know, and Aunt Nora was the type of mom and aunt that was real motherly.
You know, always baking, cooking something.
You know, the house always smelled of, of something good to eat.
It was just so magical.
SOL: Dad used to tell us a story when we were little about how Aunt Nora would always go around the dinner table and ask everyone to say a prayer.
Apparently, the only prayer Dad knew was real simple.
It went, "Jesus wept."
"That's all you can say, boy, is, 'Jesus wept.'"
Says, "You're going to have to learn a new verse."
Jimmy says, "I got one for you," so he teaches me this.
So they come around to me and I say, "Jesus wept, Moses crept, and Paul went fishing on the back door step."
I'm sitting there.
Out of that chair, sent upstairs to the room, no food.
I still remember it today, too, it got me in so much trouble.
JIMMY: You know, you don't have a lot of people that are very, very close to you, that touch your actual soul.
Well, he touched my soul.
And I think I touched his.
And so I just thank God that he was in my life for that amount of time.
And I miss him.
I miss him a lot.
I have missed him over the past 20 years.
♪ ♪ - I'm glad we made this trip, man.
- Yeah, it's wonderful.
(both laughing) Yeah, well, yeah.
- It's like you said, man, you got the memory.
♪ ♪ SOL: What was incredible and what I didn't expect was, when you begin to understand more and more of where you came from, you have a deeper sense of who you are, and perhaps that strengthens your resilience for what is to come and who you become.
I don't know.
I hope that's what you guys can get from this.
By the time Dad started junior high, Uncle Jimmy had joined the military, and they wouldn't see each other very often anymore.
Dad spent all his time in Kansas City now.
FATS DOMINO: ♪ I'm going to Kansas City ♪ WILLIAM: Kansas City was, like, the hub, the pinwheel at that particular point in time in the '50s.
All the trains came into Kansas City.
The whole gang of us, we would go down to the train tracks.
See, it was always something down there.
There was hobos hitching rides on trains, and we'd run errands for them.
DOMINO: ♪ I'm gonna be standing on the corner ♪ WILLIAM: And, uh, we'd sit around and listen to their tales.
And I think that in one way inspired me to travel, 'cause I heard all these stories about these different places.
And I, I thought that was the best thing in the world.
Dad dreamed of traveling, but the options were pretty limited for a young Black boy at that time.
I mean, you couldn't even go into certain parts of the city.
You had to stay in your neighborhood.
DOMINO: ♪ If I have to walk, I'm going just the same ♪ And I guess you would call it today, I guess you would call it the ghetto.
We didn't see it as a ghetto at the time.
You know, you, you hear the clichéd saying that it takes a village to raise a child.
Well, that village, that neighborhood, raised me.
And that's where I met Donna.
SOL: Dad met Donna when he was 18.
She was 16.
About a year later, just as he was graduating high school, she got pregnant.
So he asked Donna to marry him.
WILLIAM: Oh, everybody was telling us-- telling me not to do it.
My uncle's wife pulls me aside and she says, "You'll find that right now you like each other, "but eventually you're going to grow incompatible, "and that'll be the end of that.
And that'll happen very quickly because you're both very young."
I was in love, and she was telling me all the right things.
SOL: My sister, your aunt Travistine, was their first child, born in 1963.
And in 1966, three years later, they had a son, William Richard Guy, Jr., my brother.
WILLIAM: And now I needed some money.
♪ ♪ I was in Thailand for about two years.
I get home.
SHOSHANA: To Kansas City.
- Kansas City.
I remember that sight to this day.
There's Donna standing there.
SOL: Donna showed up at the airport to pick up Dad with Travistine and Richard and two more kids that weren't his.
And I just stood there with my mouth open, you know?
- And I... Couldn't believe it.
And we didn't say anything about it.
Nothing was ever said, you know.
I just, I just couldn't believe it, I just... And I asked Mom.
She said, "It wasn't my place to tell you."
Mom said, "It wasn't my place to tell you."
- And from then on, that was, that was a real bad part of my life.
(crowd shouting) SOL: He split, and went up to Washington, D.C., where he was stationed at the Pentagon.
(guns firing) SHOSHANA: So you started hanging out with Mom.
- Started hanging out with Bobbie.
♪ ♪ BOBBIE: I was working in the same building he was going to school as a DJ.
SHOSHANA: What was your disc jockey name?
- Gigging Guy!
(Shoshana laughs) BOBBIE: Well, I couldn't help but notice, he was, like, a gorgeous-looking guy, for starters.
He was so friendly and he seemed like a thinking kind of person.
And then I started purposely running into him.
SOL: Was it unique at that time to be, like, a mixed couple?
The political climate was just awful.
Like, it was like now, actually.
RICHIE HAVENS: ♪ Freedom ♪ ♪ Freedom, freedom ♪ BOBBIE: His eyes started opening to what the U.S. was up to, its complete brutality at home toward people of color.
And I think he was pissed off.
I got hooked up into heroin at that time.
And I realized I had to do something, I had to do something really drastic to get out of there, 'cause this was no good.
He was the one who really wanted to leave D.C.
I was looking for a place to, for me to call home again, rather than Kansas City-- I didn't want to go back there.
He talked about Iowa and how he loved the country.
Subconsciously looking for Iowa, looking for Waterloo.
This couple we met said, "Have you ever been to Canada?
It's so beautiful there and it's a really nice country."
We hitchhiked across the border into Canada and we saw the RCMP car.
And we're, like, "Oh, God, it's the cops."
And the cop stopped and he said, "I've seen you two have been out here a really long time.
Wondering, do you want a ride into the youth hostel?"
We almost fell down.
You would feel the tension just that we were living under in the United States, it just seemed to melt away.
You know, just to get out of that whole rat race down there and move to something, you know, see something else.
You know, and for a Black man to do that is a really big deal.
♪ ♪ SOL: My mom and dad made their way to a seaside patch of unsettled land on Vancouver Island, where a ragtag group of hippies wanted to get back to the land.
Dad wrote on the back of this photo, "They said love it or leave it, so I left it.
Back to nature, where life is."
Their first baby was a girl, Shoshana, your wonderful auntie.
What's your earliest memory?
SHOSHANA: I remember there being a lot of goats there and geese that were mean.
The geese were mean-- they would chase us.
SOL: And who's this guy?
SHOSHANA: This is Mr. Sol Guy as an infant.
His birth was quick, and simple, pretty easy.
I was kind of the midwife.
BOBBIE: Yes, Dad considered himself the midwife.
- With what training?
- With no training.
There's the teepee, there's, you can see the, the line.
- Is that where we were living?
- We were living in the teepee I got.
And then there's the woodshed.
- Look how pleased you are with yourself.
Just livin' la vida loca up there, huh, Ma?
- (laughing) SOL: Dad was able to get work locally.
He was tree planting, he was a roofer, he was working at the mill.
Everything he did was, like...
I couldn't believe, how could he carry two things of shingles up a ladder, and... You know?
And my dad used to yell at me off the top of the roof, I'll never forget, he yelled down, he would say, "Boy, use your mind to work, not your body."
I think what Dad meant was, if your mind is free, it can carry your body anywhere.
♪ ♪ It was maybe when I was around your age, Soleil, that I realized that my father was a bit of a fish out of water in the town that we grew up in.
BOBBIE: I remember once he said to me, "The only Black person I see is the one in the mirror.
I can't, don't know if I can handle this."
I didn't realize how sad and impacted he was by not being with Travistine and Richard.
I remember him the first year making by hand something for Travistine for her birthday and mailing it to her.
He said he really missed them.
I would go back and I'd see the kids and see Donna.
Did you ever ask Donna to bring them back... - No, that wasn't, that wasn't gonna happen at all, you know.
- Besides, I didn't have any way to... - Income.
-...income, of bringing them there anyway at that time.
When he used to go from Canada to visit them, it was pretty rough.
When he came back, he was so depressed.
It really started falling apart.
A lot of drinking and drugging, and women were really attracted to him, 'cause he was so handsome.
And, you know, the exotic Black man thing, you know?
I think that was in there.
And so Dad had girlfriends.
♪ ♪ SOL: Now, the mirrors of my father's life into mine are interesting.
What we don't heal, what we don't confront, we pass on.
I felt very, at different points, "I have to get out of this, I have to get out of this."
Dad took my sister Shoshana and headed down to Mexico.
♪ ♪ SHOSHANA: Where did you meet Lee?
WILLIAM: Met her on a beach, Zipolite.
Entourage of guys behind her, so... - (chuckling) - You know, I figured I had a chance in hell, but... SOL: He was sending the occasional odd letter back up to my mom.
How long did they go to Mexico?
BOBBIE: Well, Dad said he was going to go for a month, and he was gone... three or four months?
SOL: When he came back, there was another woman with him, Leora, my stepmom, your grandma Lee Lee.
(chuckling): He hadn't really mentioned Lee Lee to my mom, to Oma Bobbie.
And he didn't really tell Oma Bobbie about Lee Lee.
He just rolled up hippie-style.
And he said, "Another Jew to add to the crew."
And I was livid.
(chuckling): I mean, like, why am I here?
Like, there's this family.
First of all, I mean, we'd been separated.
He had a right to find someone new.
But he didn't tell me about it till they were on their way back and I kept sending him money.
I go, "What the hell am I doing?"
And then I was, like, "I can't do this.
I need my own-- I need to get out of here."
And he said, "Don't leave."
SOL: And so you, so, so you... - So I didn't.
I think Dad was, like, "Those are my kids, and wherever I am, they are, and that's it."
She genuinely loved you guys.
LEE LEE: I don't think Dad even would say he was a hippie.
He needed to get out of a situation.
It was poverty.
As soon as we got more money, he wanted to move into town.
He wanted to buy a house.
He wanted a home.
He wanted family.
He never had... ...in the state of matrimony of this man and this woman.
With this ring... - With this ring... - ...as a token... - ...as a token... - ...and pledge... - ...and pledge... - ...of the vow and covenant... All right!
(guests clapping and cheering) SOL: It was with Lee Lee that he got it right.
They just, they, I think they got stable.
They stayed in one place and they started working.
Lee had a degree and she started teaching at the college.
And eventually he started his own business as a roofer.
LEE LEE: Hey, here we are in our new house.
WILLIAM: Maybe this is what coming to Canada, being the only Black person in many different situations, maybe that was the special thing that I knew I was going to do when I was a kid.
♪ ♪ SOL: I always knew I had an older brother and sister, but I didn't know much about them.
But I would look at their pictures in the photo album, and I would sometimes think about what their life might be like.
It wasn't till I was eight that I met my sister Travistine.
She came up to visit with her first baby, Dwayne, my nephew.
And she comes up, and Dad is really excited.
It was huge.
It was very important to him and important to you and Shoshana.
SOL: Honestly, it was the first time for Sho and I hanging out with a Black person even close to our age.
She told me about my brother Richard, she showed me pictures.
She said he was a wide receiver.
I liked watching football with my dad, so I knew what a wide receiver was.
I wanted to play football like him.
And I wondered why he didn't come visit, too.
And there was no real explanation why.
I guess in hindsight, he didn't want to.
The way our life is and the way her life is, has been up to that point, were so different.
The stars were out and she was just sitting like this.
And she said, "I've never seen stars like this.
Like, I cook, and I do... and then she's looking for Twinkies.
Like, and Dad flips out.
Like, there's, like, tension, until he realizes he has had no input.
- He didn't raise her.
- He didn't raise her-- and then he felt... - Terrible.
If you had to choose between your children and your own survival, what would you choose?
♪ ♪ And what that did, though, is hurt children.
♪ ♪ SOL: She stayed the whole summer.
I remember being sad when she had to leave, and she'd check in with me, she always remembered my birthday, and she'd always extend an invitation and, and... (laughs) And, and tell me I was welcome.
I remember wondering, why were we in Canada?
LEE LEE: He had a magical way of bringing out what he needed to bring out when he spoke to you.
He knew how to speak to his son.
SOL: When I was 11, Dad gave me the answer to why we were in Canada in the form of a book, Roots.
He made me read this thick book and said I had to write him a book report about it.
♪ ♪ And I had no idea America was like that.
Or what my father or our family had been through.
He knew that even all the way in Canada, all the way in this small town, if we were ever to leave this place and go into the world, that we need to be equipped.
That was what watching the Champ was about.
That was his hero.
That was, was a champion because of what he stood for and stood up against.
There was some pride in that, knowing we were different.
♪ ♪ SHOSHANA: Remember that time we went to that Ray Charles concert?
(laughing) SOL: Tell me.
- So we went to the concert, and he's loud, and he loves to express himself when he gets... Just like Black people do.
(chuckling): But we weren't used to that.
And so there he is, amongst all these White people, just yelling out, like, "Yeah, Ray!
(exclaims) And we were just, like, "Oh, my God, this is embarrassing."
(laughing) We were just, like... (exclaims) That's one thing that I, he really missed about his community, was just the music.
He would just clear the furniture out of the living room and he would dance by himself.
("Inspiration Information" by Shuggie Otis playing) ♪ We had a rainy day ♪ ♪ I'm in a sneak-back situation ♪ ♪ ♪ SOL: Your aunt Jayda, Dad's fifth child, with Lee Lee, was born in '88.
JAYDA: You know, I have some really early memories of us dancing together, him showing me how to dance.
Him doing the Moonwalk, things like that.
Dad was really, he was super-warm, super-, super-warm.
WILLIAM: Realized I, you know, really enjoyed working with people, and that, uh, social work, I thought, would be a really good avenue for me.
He was accepted into the course and then went to school.
School was real, it was really hard.
- It was very, very hard.
It was very scary.
Basically, the course was all about, uh, studying yourself.
So, we're going to give up blaming.
We're going to give up complaining.
Whatever's happening in your life, the way you respond to that event equals the outcome.
And then there was one of these things they asked them to do, like, about a month into the course, which was, change something of yourself, something big.
He decided to stop smoking.
He stopped smoking... (smacks): Right away.
He never smoked again.
SHOSHANA: That was a good choice for you, then.
- It was a very good choice for me... - And it sort of changed your life, changed your person.
- It really changed my... Yup.
Changed my personality, changed my person dramatically.
In order to be able to help people, I had to, you know, clear up a lot of my own stuff, you know?
So I had to quit drugging and drinking, you know, for one thing.
He was at this point in his life where he had a livelihood that he loved, that he was excellent at, he was helping people all over the place.
And he was open, way more open than I'd seem him in years.
MAN: There you are, guy beautiful.
- (chuckles) SOL: When I was 15, my mom, your oma, decided she was moving to Vancouver, and I decided I was going with.
Really, I went for two reasons.
Number one, because hip-hop came into my life.
It was everything to me, because I saw myself, I saw myself on the TV screen, I saw myself in these magazines.
I saw some people that looked like me who were doing things that they could take pride in.
The big city was an adventure, man.
Mom was going through some big changes, too.
And I felt like I needed to be there for her.
As it turned out, I didn't have to worry about her.
Because she met a man named Freye, Freye Parkhouse, an Englishman, a teacher, a believer with a mischievous smile.
You're so close to the ocean.
- It's the inlet.
- The inlet that comes in?
- The sea shelf separates it, right?
So when the clouds dissipate, right, there's a whole set of mountains there.
SOL: He was the polar opposite of my father.
Whereas my dad lit up a room and held the space, Freye made space for everyone else.
♪ ♪ With Freye, my mom got it right.
- See you a bit later.
- All right.
SOL: The gifts that Freye gave me would take me some time to recognize.
Vancouver became my new home.
I moved out and got a place of my own, and me and my friends, we started this hip-hop group called the Rascalz.
♪ Ain't nobody can bang with us ♪ SOL: We started getting a little, some attention.
We started having a little bit of success.
That took me to Toronto, and we did really well there and had a bit more success.
And that took me to New York City, and we did really well there and had a bit more success.
And in the middle of that kind of upward rise, you know, my dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
He was 49 years old.
I was 20.
I certainly didn't think it was that serious.
And maybe he didn't know it was that serious at the time.
Just some malady that he had and was going through, and he'd be all right.
Good morning, Pops.
(people laughing and talking) SHOSHANA: When I got the call that, that the cancer was back, I just knew he wasn't gonna get better.
And then he just told us that he wasn't gonna get better.
As I'm walking around and I hear people talk about, just, future things, you know, the first thing that comes to my head, "Maybe I won't be there to see that," you know?
I remember asking him, like, "What's, what's it going to be like when you die?"
And he's, like, "I don't know."
He's, like, "I don't know."
And yeah, I remember that very, very clearly, yeah.
SOL: He wanted to, for the first and only time, get all of his kids together.
So he invited us up to the house in Grand Forks.
TRAVISTINE: There he is, good.
(laughing) SOL: How you doing, man?
Almost broke my shoulder.
(Travistine laughing) That was the one and only time I met my brother.
RICHARD: What's up, bro?
(laughs) SOL: It was an odd experience, something you don't really realize, you know, the significance of at the time.
(talking and laughing) SOL: My brother and I, we were cool, we showed love to each other.
But there was a bit of tension between boys, between brothers.
- (exclaiming and laughing) SOL: We had this extraordinary week together, all of us.
- (talking in background) SOL: You know, Richard, Jr., is... (laughing) SOL: He's a ham, you know?
He left a running commentary on the tapes to keep us all laughing.
RICHARD: She's going to do it.
Let's get it, Travi.
(humming) Let's go, cowgirl.
(grunts): Look at that, look at that!
There you go, yay!
You got it, all right.
Way to go-- wait!
♪ ♪ SOL: The last time I saw him was standing right here, sitting right where you're sitting right now, the last time I ever saw him alive, you know?
I left, and I... - This is his chair.
- And I knew when I left, I'd never see him again.
- But I, I didn't accept it.
So I guess what I wanted to ask you is, you just got to spend that time with him.
You, you did those interviews with him.
What was he like in that?
- He didn't want us stopping our lives and coming up here to take...
He didn't want all that, he didn't...
He wanted us to keep living our lives.
I couldn't actually sit still in the fact of seeing him deteriorate.
And I didn't want to see it.
And I remember when I hugged him on the, when I came, you know, probably the last time I was with him.
I remember hugging him and I felt in his back, like, the bump.
Like, that there was, there was tumors or something, like, bumps in his back, you know?
And I, I can remember feeling them.
And I can remember, uh... Yeah, we read that Ali book.
We, we hung out.
I just don't think I had the-- it was too much, man.
It was too overwhelming, I, I ran.
I left, and I was, like, "I'll be back," and in my gut, I was, like, "I'm never gonna see this guy again," like, I knew that.
But I always wonder if, like, if it was there...
If it was easier for him to go without me around or if...
I think he couldn't with you.
- It was too painful for him to think about what our lives would be like.
I think he struggled and I think he had a lot of sorrow.
And that's what I've been saying to you.
(sniffles) SOL: Okay, what do we got here?
LEE LEE: These are things that was in Dad's drawer when he died.
- Like, his little nightstand table?
- This is a school picture of Travistine.
- It is.
- In high school.
- Look at that.
- Look at her.
LEE LEE: His loss and sadness over Travistine and Richard never reconciled.
He died way too early.
Somehow, it doesn't seem fair sometimes that once a person learns to love, learns the meaning of love, learns what he really loves in this world, then life is kind of snatched away from under you.
Once you've achieved that, well, maybe it's time up.
I don't know.
But I want to let you all know that I love you all deeply, very deeply.
I hope when you guys look back on your life, you're able to find some good times.
When you look back on your childhood, you're able to see that, um, there was love there.
When you're loved, you know, it's always good times.
I hope you're able to say that about your old dad, huh?
That he gave you some of those times, I hope.
(static hissing) (birds and crickets chirping) ♪ ♪ Only in hindsight do I realize how rocked I was when my father died.
A lot of things that had made sense that I was chasing and running after, as, the things I was aspiring to be in the world, they didn't have as much meaning.
I had gone to Africa for the first time, and I saw the beauty of the world and the tragedy of war.
- Reporting live and direct from Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa.
U.N. voted Canada the number-one place to live in the world right now, and Sierra Leone is the last.
WOMAN (speaking Krio): SOL: I started really seeing and feeling the world.
♪ ♪ Then I came to a very clear understanding that if it wasn't good for people and my father wouldn't be proud of it, then I could no longer be a part of projects that didn't check those two boxes.
And that undid a lot of things that I had been doing in my life.
And it became a guiding principle for me moving forward.
I wanted a family, I wanted kids.
You know, I had a friend in Germany and he casually mentioned to me, he said, "Yo, you see my friend Ina while you're in town"-- he wasn't there.
And sure enough, I ended up at this bar and this waitress was at the bar, and she was cool.
I started talking to her.
It turned out that this was the Ina that my friend Tyron had told me about.
I would think about you guys.
I would imagine what it would be like to be, be a father.
I would imagine you.
SOL: We made you.
- Mother, fa...
(Ina chuckling) And I turned out pretty great.
(Ina laughs) Yeah.
I'm, I'm amazed by your mother, because you...
The brilliance of you two is a reflection of her.
♪ ♪ We didn't have much, I mean, nothing, but I knew there was only one place I could go, which was back to Grand Forks, back to where I grew up.
Our marriage fell apart for a few reasons, I think.
This is only my opinion.
One, we were very young.
It's hard to be new parents, a new couple.
You get challenged by a relationship.
You're deeply in love, a child comes, and you love that child more than you even love each other, and, you know, it kind of splits you apart, and hopefully, you re-form as three, or you begin to go like this.
And we, you know, my travels took me away and we couldn't find a place to reconnect.
And eventually, I looked for that reconnection outside of my marriage, and I, I, uh...
I was, you know, unfaithful, yeah.
And in hindsight, I guess I hadn't learned to let love in yet.
It seemed like it would be better for your mom and you guys if you were to go with her to Germany for a while.
Initially, it was for a year or so, and it became a lot more.
Yeah, you know, Soleil, you were, you were six, I believe, when you left for Germany.
Shakur, you would have been three.
SOL: It was so shocking that you were leaving that I just, it just kind of happened.
But I hope you remember the, the love that surrounded you.
(guests cheer and applaud) SOL: I hope that what was and what is was good.
Yeah, I hope.
♪ ♪ The last 20 years, America's gone through some changes, too.
And a lot of things have stayed the same.
When I watched the tapes, it became clear to me that I needed to do something that I'd been avoiding for a very long time.
All our extended family of nephews and nieces and cousins and Guy family, the Black side of our family, the Black American side of our family, the roots of our, of my father, of your grandfather, of a lineage were in Kansas City.
I decided it was time to go.
(phone ringing out) TRAVISTINE: Hello?
Hey, little bro, how you doing?
(chuckles): I'm good, how are you?
Okay, I didn't know that was you calling.
So, so look, I wanted to, I wanted to reach out to you, 'cause, you know, I know I've been threatening to do it for a long, the longest time, but I really want to, um, I want to come, I want to come visit.
Wow, that sounds amazing.
I'mma get on and let, let the kids know and everything.
All right, that's amazing.
I'm really looking forward to it.
(call ends) I guess I can't get out of it now, huh?
Trying to shake it off, but it won't go away.
I really don't have anything to be nervous about.
I mean, I know it's going to be fine.
And then we'll meet Travistine, my sister, bunch of cousins, nephews, and nieces.
I've just never been there, so... (exhales softly) ♪ ♪ (turn signal clicking) (birds chirping) (knocks) TRAVESTINE (from inside): Come on!
(talking softly in background) (laughing) TRAVISTINE: Y'all finally made it, huh?
SOL: Told you I was coming back.
(Travistine laughing) Told you I was coming back.
- Y'all finally made it-- oh, excuse me, baby.
How you doing?
Glad to see you here.
I've been hearing so much about you.
DWAYNE: That's your Uncle Sol, say, "What's up?"
SOL: How you doing?
Look at this little guy.
- Can you say hi?
(people talking in background) (talking in background) NICHELLE: He looks like Lil Rich, though.
Lil Rich is just like you, looks like Sol.
- Yeah, same to you, same to you.
NICHELLE: Yeah, you got a nephew look just like you.
(talking in background) - What's up, man?
- Chillin', chillin', chillin'.
- How are you?
- Fresh off work.
- Yeah, how you doing, man?
What's going on here?
What do you got?
TRAVISTINE: You tell me when you see this.
(home video playing) (talking in background) ♪ ♪ NICHELLE: Wow.
TRAVESTINE: You see it, Sol?
TRAVESTINE: Do you?
♪ ♪ (talking in background) (laughing) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ TRAVISTINE: I don't know how many...
It just seemed like it was yesterday, for real.
I don't know-- I didn't know it was 20 years.
♪ ♪ SOL: The next day, she took me to visit our brother's grave.
He had died at 49.
They called me and I was asleep, I go, "What do y'all want?"
They crying and crying.
I said, I must have said, I was going out, "What are y'all crying for?
What's going on?"
They told me Richard passed.
- I got up and went to the bathroom.
And they said, "Are you okay?"
I go, "Yeah."
They said, Shel said, "Uh-uh, Travs ain't okay.
We going over there."
And I was sitting on the stool-- Sol, I could not get up.
It felt like somebody just pushed.
I felt like I just lifted up off the stool and I just stood there.
Shel and my aunties, they came.
They said, "You going to be okay?"
I said, "I can't, I got to be okay 'cause, you know, I got to be with y'all, whatever."
And they go, "He's gone."
I go... (exhales) Howling while, I just talked to him.
I mean, just, literally, two weeks ago.
♪ ♪ SOL: You asked me how he died.
Unchecked health issues, lack of education, lack of opportunity, centuries of racism and racial terror.
I mean, these circles and cycles of trauma go on and on.
I think you could say he died from being Black in America.
♪ ♪ - He's a junior, man.
TRAVISTINE: That he is.
- Man, I wish I got a chance to meet him more than once, man.
I gotta be honest, you know?
- Right, right.
Yeah, he was, he was, um...
I mean, Richard... (exhales audibly) Richard's Richard.
Like, I don't know what words to find for him.
But my brother was, hey, a handful or two.
(both laugh) He really was-- bossy, real bossy, so... - Maybe he, did you share that with him, maybe?
- Oh... (exhales) (Sol laughs) Oh, yeah.
GIRL: This was it?
TRAVISTINE: Yeah, come on, right here.
SOL: There you go, Rich.
♪ ♪ TRAVISTINE: And I did a play.
And my... Daddy was there and I didn't, I didn't know it.
After the play, you know, I'm walking, coming to see my mama.
And out of everybody, Daddy stood taller than everybody.
And then he said, "Travs," I look, he had rows in his hair, oh, my God.
They said my whole face just lit up.
And I just took off running all through everybody, all through the crowd.
And my daddy picked me up.
And I think I wanted then to go back with him, and...
But my mama, my mama said no, 'cause she just knew I would have got there and I wouldn't have never came back.
She knew, she knew Daddy was gonna, would have kept me, but... SOL: I always knew Travistine, only met her twice.
This is only, like, the third time I'm meeting her.
It's strangely comfortable.
Still, like, when I, I have a lot of, like, anxiety when I come here, because, I don't know why.
I build up expectation, like, I get...
If I-- I think it's guilt.
(people talking and laughing in background) BIG MIKE: You know what I'm saying?
BIG MIKE: You know what I'm saying?
I'm loving this (muted).
What's up with it, how you doing?
DWAYNE: All right, my name's Dwayne Guy.
I'm the oldest of Travistine Guy kids.
SOL: The first time she came up, she already had Dwayne, so I knew him as this chubby little baby.
He's far from that now, a grown man with a big beard.
Dwayne has nine kids with...
I don't even know how many baby moms, to be honest.
But I do know his oldest son lives in Japan.
- And he live in Japan now?
- Yeah... - That's dope, how'd he, how'd he, yeah, how did he get over there?
- Mom's in the military.
- Okay, good for him, man.
It's nice to see, it's nice to see different places, man.
That's big for him.
And how old is he?
- Man, look, I was on, I was messing with them X pills in 2005, uh... (Sol laughs) Hard-- I'm talking about hard.
So I got four of them all the same age.
- In 2005?
- 2005, I got four... - You know what the, you know what it is?
- It's the green eyes, man.
- Man, they get you in trouble!
They ain't good for nothing, unc!
They ain't good for nothing!
(both laughing) - The green eyes, you see... GEROME: Gerome Guy.
I'm the second-oldest of Travistine kids.
SOL: That's me meeting my nephew Gerome for the first time.
He'd just been released from prison.
How old are you, Malcolm?
You look like your pops, man.
What about this guy?
- That's my youngest.
- Who this?
What's your name?
(Grant speaks softly) - Grant, I'm Sol, nice to meet you.
I'm your great-uncle.
You guys pumped to see your pops?
- Yup, I bet.
- I was supposed to go meet my daughter, but she went somewhere with her, with her auntie.
DWAYNE: We actually got locked up together.
- Conspiracy is a bad mother(muted).
- Conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
- How long were you in for?
- After four years, they had me, they had shipped me down to Osceola, Texas.
It's a low, low federal facility.
- What do you say to people who kind of, who pass judgment on what, you know, what you guys got caught up in?
"Why were you out hustling?
", or, like, "You had a choice."
- I mean, they right-- everybody has a choice.
I could have been a doctor, I could have went to school.
Been a lawyer, but, growing up in my environment, that ain't what I saw.
So why do something I ain't saw?
- And you got a different pop, right?
- Yeah, yeah.
- And where's-- did you grow up with him?
- Nah, my dad?
Nah, he got locked up when I was, like, eight years old.
And got out when I was, like, 27.
- Damn, that's a long stretch.
- Yeah, yeah, then, um, and then, like, and then, like, soon as he got out, I already, I ended up getting locked up, so... Yeah, so that was, like, another three, three or, almost four years.
♪ ♪ SOL: Now, Lee is Travi's third son.
A single father raising two daughters.
He worked hard his whole life to get out of Kansas City, to get his daughters into a better neighborhood, better schools.
They come back for a weekend, and, like, boom-- how quickly it can happen, and how everything can get turned upside down.
When we get back home, I had some legal troubles.
Like, one of my lawyers didn't show up for my court date, so I got a warrant out for me.
My bondsman called me.
So, when I get to K.C., I try to go take care of my legal stuff.
They hear I was in Dallas out on bond, they don't like it, they refuse, they, they refuse to bond me back out, send me straight to jail.
Not even an hour after I get to Kansas City, I'm in jail with a $2,000 cash bond.
I'm, like, sick.
And then, um... MAN: What was the charge?
- Possession of marijuana.
Had a little, just a little gram in the car rolled up.
I wasn't smoking, it wasn't...
They just end up finding the gram and throwing me in jail.
So it was a little possession of marijuana.
My kids, they're with their mama, cool.
NEWSCASTER: Breaking news for you tonight.
Kansas City police are asking people in the community to stay inside, all because an accused murderer is on the run.
SOL: I got a call from Travistine.
There had been a shooting.
Lee's daughter Kali was involved.
She was in the house.
Her mom and her sister left to go get breakfast, like, up the street, get something to cook, left for, like, you know, maybe ten minutes.
Mama's boyfriend was there, he had a beef with some guy, and the guy pulled out a gun and shot the boyfriend four times.
LEE: And she literally tried to help pick him up.
He's losing consciousness, slowly but surely.
SOL: She was with this man as he died.
Ambulance, police, everything came.
Lee pulled up, Mom pulled up.
Kali's being brought out by her mama.
She go to put Kali in the car, and I see nothing but blood all over my daughter.
Like, it would (muted) up an adult.
Like, guys go to war and come back with PTSD for this same (muted) incident, and here my, you know, eight-year-old daughter is dealing with this (muted).
In most cities, you're, like, "Yeah, the east side of the city "is the bad side, the north side is..." No, all of Kansas City.
If you inside the inner city in Kansas City, you're in the 'hood.
I'm never coming back here.
That's why we're not going back for Thanksgiving.
I told them, I'm, like, "I'm never coming back home."
I'm just not going to do it, I'm, I'm good.
♪ ♪ SOL: The top-a-top dog is my sister Travistine.
- (laughing) - The matriarch of the family.
Holds it down.
MAN: What we got going?
- We got hamburgers... DWAYNE: We joke with her a lot, but we had hard times, but some people didn't even eat at night.
We ate every night.
LEE: So, like, when fourth grade hit, Mama taught you how to take care of yourself starting then.
Meals, you know what I mean?
Prep food, the whole nine.
Mama made sure that even with or without her being home, everything still got done.
TRAVISTINE: Quit, quit!
You don't-- you want me to spank you?
SOL: Now, Travistine don't have time to play any games.
Man, she can't even keep track of how many grandkids, nephews, and nieces she has.
She doesn't even know all their names.
TRAVISTINE: Mm, mm, mm, mm, mm.
(phone ringing out, Sol chuckles) SOL: She literally just calls one of the kids Three-Letter Baby.
- What's Three-Letter's Baby real name?
She said-- spell that.
Mm, three letters.
That's my three-letter niece.
And how old is she?
(both laughing) SOL: What does family mean to you?
I feel that's all I got in the world is, is my family.
KIM: Oh, family's everything.
Family is the one who loves you.
You know, no matter who gave birth to you, you're our brother-- can't nobody take it.
Can't nobody take it.
NICHELLE: I'm not me without my family.
Just us all coming together again, it means a whole lot.
And you're my little brother.
LIL RICH: My dad told me about y'all about a few times.
Like, he told me, me and you looked alike.
"You got an uncle "that looks just like you, you never met him.
You got aunties in Canada that you never met."
And that's just about it, for real.
They always wanted to, you know, see y'all, meet y'all.
You know, they knew y'all before y'all even, before they even seen y'all, so it was, like...
They couldn't even, it was, like, overwhelmed them when you did come to Kansas City.
'Cause they was glad to see you, 'cause they always heard about you, whatever, so, and then Sharon and all them... ♪ ♪ That was the best time, it really was.
And for me, too, to actually, for you to come down there, so... Yeah, I liked that, too.
(laughing) SOL: Me, too.
- I liked that, yeah.
♪ ♪ SOL: I absolutely hope that you guys get to meet them.
I think you, I think it's important for you to understand where you come from.
And I think it's important to try to understand, from someone who's lived it, the experience of being, of being Black in America, and being, um... Yeah, the richness of it and the struggle of it, and the...
The beauty, the pain.
Like, it comes with a lot.
I'm kind of grateful that you didn't have to grow up with that.
It feels almost bad to say, because you feel like you're, you're saying something wrong about...
But you're not saying something wrong about people, you're saying something-- what I'm saying is, there's something wrong in the way that the society functions, and others people, and hasn't confronted or acknowledged the reality of the history of the country that put people into these circumstances.
♪ ♪ On the 20th anniversary of Dad's death, I invited the family to gather at his grave site in Canada.
This is the first time we'd all seen each other since the funeral.
LEE LEE: How you doing?
(Travistine chuckling) TRAVISTINE: How you doing?
LEE LEE: Mwah!
TRAVISTINE: How you doing, Lee?
How you doing?
(laughing) LEE LEE (chuckles): I just have to... SOL: Aw.
TRAVISTINE: How you been?
LEE LEE: Just like you, living life.
TRAVISTINE (chuckles): Okay!
♪ ♪ SOL: I want to thank all you guys for being supportive, and I know it wasn't always so easy.
Like I say, this, this process has given me a different, uh, a different relationship with, with Dad's memory.
I'm a very different person than I was when he passed.
Being able to spend time with this, this one over here and her welcome, welcoming me into the family.
I mean, when I went down there, I was so, I was so scared, I was trying to avoid it.
- (chuckles) - You were so sweet and threw me a little party and just getting to know everybody, it's been, it's been pretty special.
So, and everybody just making the time, it just means a lot to me.
If I've hurt any of you guys along the way, I'm sorry, I didn't... (sniffles, voice breaking) That wasn't what I was trying to do.
I just, I just needed to find a different way to relate to Dad because I'm not a kid anymore, you know?
I want to be a good parent, and I relate to him 'cause a lot of his life is similar to mine, you know?
SOL: As all good adventures do, I was changed by the journey.
How much so I didn't realize, until I started editing this film for you.
This is Rafe.
FREYE: Hey, sport, nice to meet you, yeah.
RAFE: What's your name?
SOL: Then I got a call.
My step-father, your grandpa Freye, he'd had a fall.
He was just getting in the car and his leg gave out.
Somehow, Freye knew it was A.L.S.
A neurological disease with no cure, and he'd only have a few months to live.
All this time making this for you, I thought I was making a story about race, about identity, about family and fatherhood.
About America and our broken family that needs to reconcile if we hope to survive.
And it was, and it is about all those things.
But, ultimately, it was about facing my father's death.
♪ ♪ And what my big sister Travistine taught me is, we don't run from fear.
I was about to repeat the same thing that I did when my dad was sick, which is, I ran.
And instead of running away, I ran to it.
(plane engine humming) (footsteps crunching) BOBBIE: He's back.
(Sol chuckles) - Hello.
(laughs): Hey, Freye.
SOL: He knew that by filming his last months on Earth, he would be able to share something more intimate and more vulnerable than we're used to seeing.
Freye hoped that in sharing this with you, there might be something here to help us all with our journey in this world.
INA: You have to put it together.
BOBBIE: Yeah, like, you, you just, like this, and then he looks at you, and you say the letters, like, like, if he looked here, I'd say, "A, B, C", and when I hit, you hit the letter, he says, yes, like this.
- Ah, so you go really... - Then you write it down, 'cause it's hard to remember.
- Oh, yeah, letter to letter.
- It's letter to letter.
We're working on something more high-tech.
- Yeah, but... - (laughs) But it's going to be a while.
SOL: He says we get our powers like this.
BOBBIE: That's hilarious.
(Freye vocalizing) (Sol laughing) The Freye whisperer.
- Uh, G?
BOBBIE: Ah, both.
- Oh, ocean and mountains both.
Yes, of course.
BOBBIE: You got it.
- Yes, you have both.
SOL: That was good, Shakur.
SOL: You've taught me many lessons, but you know what a really good one you taught me is?
You more than anyone I know found a way to work enough to, to maintain yourself, but to have a more rounded life, where you could do your practice and to make yourself, to ask questions, and to improve, and to make yourself a better person.
(kisses) That's how we do our kisses.
(Ina laughing) I love his kisses, they're so good.
(Ina laughing) They're very small, but they're very significant.
(laughing) Are you cold?
You want to go back in now?
(Freye vocalizing) Yeah, okay, let's do it.
Oh, you want to say something.
(grunts) All right, back on the scene.
T-U-V. We live, yeah?
M-N-O-P Q-R-M. We live simply?
Yeah, I know.
(people talking in background) BOBBIE: 30 years and three months.
SOL: 30 years and three months?
- Is that your longest relationship?
- Oh, yes-- it's definitely his.
He never lasted more than two-and-a-half years.
- Was it, when you guys were together for two-and-a-half years, was he getting... - Itchy feet?
- Was he getting itchy feet?
Were you, Freye?
- Oh, maybe there's something I don't know here.
- Were you getting itchy feet after, after two-and-a-half years?
Oh, he says, he says-- show me again?
- I just want to, want to say that you, you're having a natural...
Your body is basically doing a natural process of, you know, like, you, like I say, you're not eating very much.
You're, you have pain, so you have medication.
I mean, this is a route of, toward dying, right?
You're in a process.
(Sol murmurs) SOL: "The rule is, follow the brightest light."
That's a good quote from Freye Parkhouse.
(Freye vocalizing, Sol chuckles) SOL: You know, I think you kind of sound like Chewbacca now.
(laughing, Chewbacca audio playing on phone) (Freye laughing) (Chewbacca sounds continue) (laughing) (all laughing) (toothbrush buzzing) SOL: It's interesting, because you can actually feel the...
I can feel the difference in you.
Not in a bad way.
Do you want to say something?
♪ ♪ SOL: Thank you very much.
BOBBIE: Thank you.
WOMAN: You're very welcome.
SOL: See you, buddy.
(sniffles) SOL: It's okay, Bobo, give me a hug.
(Bobbie crying) (rain falling) ♪ ♪ SOL: The day Freye died, I was able to let him go, and I let my father go.
And I'm not holding the sadness or anger that I think I know I held with my father's death.
The Sufi Muslim poet Rumi says it like this: "Goodbyes are only "for those who love with their eyes, "because for those who love with their heart and soul, there is no such thing as separation."
I was 44 when I started making this for you.
And for me.
I'm 46 now.
I'll be 47 when you watch it.
Maybe you'll see it again when I'm long gone.
Or maybe you're sharing it with your children right now.
My prayer, my hope for you is this, my son, my daughter.
May you live a life of purpose and in service to others.
May you fight for poor people and little people.
May you break the cycles that hold you back.
May you be brave enough to know and hold your family, your whole family.
♪ ♪ And I love you all, deeply.
SOL: I love you all, deeply.
WILLIAM: Very deeply.
SOL: Very deeply.
I just want to, I just want to thank you guys for this weekend.
- I had a blast.
(all talking at once) - Fun, man, it's, like, can we just have one more time?
Everybody live so many centuries apart now.
- We'll get together more often because of this.
(all laughing) Honestly, it's hard enough for me with my two sisters growing up, then I got a third one, now I got two more.
Now I got five sisters.
(all laughing) Look, she won't stop.
(laughing) - He got out of the car, and he said, "Hey, how do you like the name Sol?
", to you.
And you became Sol.
SOL: That's a crazy story.
- (laughs): I know!