February 26, 1996 - August 30, 2017
Jalen Anthony Talbert made his musical debut into this world, Monday, February, 26, 1996 to Marcus ‘Omar’ Myrick and Syreeta ‘Rhee’ Talbert. Affectionately known as ‘J’ or ‘Ace Woods’ by his family and friends, Jalen had an eclectic, charming and charismatic personality unique to him. Birthed from parents with entrepreneurial spirits, it’s no surprise Jalen would inherit a “hustle” mentality at an early age. At 7 years old, Jalen would boldly stand in front of Menards and Home Depot, selling candy, while letting customers know he wanted to be an entrepreneur and needed to start small.
For a brief season, he played little league football and basketball, but, once he realized the profits made in the concession stand, he soon set up shop at various neighborhood baseball games that didn’t have a concession stand, selling penny candy, pickles, chips and juice. When one of his customers asked why he raised prices on his pickles from $.50 to $.75, Jalen’s response was, “Inflation. The cost of gas increased and I have to pay my driver.” (His driver was his mother and she never saw the pay.)
Jalen had a ball of energy and loved to be socially and academically engaged. Throughout high school, he was a Chicago Scholar, an INROADS College Links Scholar, a Social Media Editor for True Star Magazine, and a Senior Apprentice for Artist Development Program. He also participated in and completed Young Diplomats Program at Hampton University, W.E.B. DuBois Talented Tenth STEM Education at Central State University, the UIC CHANCE STEM Program, and volunteered for the 2012 Obama Campaign, INROADS National Day of Service, The Urban Wellness Project, Community Action Team’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, and Music for a Cause Fundraiser.
He did it all!
Jalen was educated at Urban Prep Academy for Young Men, and was the first student in the school’s history to receive a college acceptance letter during his Junior year. After graduating Summa Cum Laude, Jalen moved to Los Angeles with his cousin Shantell, attending Santa Monica Community College. After a year of west coast living, he decided to move back home. He took a year off to “figure out what he wanted to do with his life” and six days after his 20th birthday, enrolled at Tribeca Flashpoint College, where he would be graduating in a few months with a B.A. in Audio Engineering and Recording. Though he never pledged a fraternity, Jalen was known as “Baby Nupe” of Kappa Alpha Phi Fraternity Incorporated of the Kappa Alpha Chapter at the age of 3, when he learned how to twirl a cane and would sometimes perform on stage.
Living life to the fullest, Jalen was an optimistic, vigorous and determined young man. His gentle smile melted hearts and his infectious laugh soothed souls. He had the amazing gift of making every person he met instantly feel comfortable. His style and charisma could charm anyone. And, when he set his mind on something, he wouldn’t stop until it came to fruition. He was blessed with an incredible and supportive “Village”. Jalen was everyone’s child.
Ask Jalen, what his passions were, and he would tell you: music, travel and family. You could always find him with a pen and pad, writing lyrics. Setting up a mini-studio in his basement, he would sit for hours, recording and verbalizing what his generation was going through. At an early age, Jalen was introduced to exploring the world. By age 6, he started flying solo, visiting his uncle's in Los Angeles and relatives in Phoenix every summer. He was blessed to visit Spain, Italy, France, the Caribbean Islands, the Panama Canal, Mexico and recently for his 21st birthday Amsterdam (no luck in the ‘Red Light District’).
When he wasn’t traveling, making music or having fun with his friends, Jalen could be found spending quality time with his family. He had an unbelievable bond with his 98 year-old great-grandfather, keeping him hip to the new generation. But it was his unconditional and undying bond with his mother that is unexplainable. They consistently poured into each other love and light.
Jalen’s life would seem too short to many. But those who were blessed to know him understand that the quality of his existence far exceeds the quantity of time he lived.
Jalen became a hero when he saved a 38 year old female with his right kidney, and a 61 year old male with his left kidney. He has blessed them both with this amazing gift of life. And, he will continue to save the lives of others through his tissue donations.