Rick Ross provides Thanksgiving meals in honor of grandparents

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By Josh Troy, Clarksdale Advocate

Clarksdale native Rick Ross, an American rapper and record executive, spent much of his childhood with family on Barnes Street. Ross’ grandparents, Tommie Jr. and Rosie Lee Fields, were patriarchs and matriarchs of the community and resided at 468 Barnes St. Tommie, a businessman who owned White Rose Cleaners on Fourth Street, Fields Auto Service on Ritchie Avenue, and had a service station on Fourth Street, died on Christmas morning 2011. Rosie Lee was known for cooking for the entire community. An annual balloon release started after she died in Aug. 2019.

Fields family members still live in the home. Rosie Lee’s sister, Gladys Merritt, still resides next door at 466 Barnes St. The balloon release takes place near the Fields’ homes on Barnes Street.

Ross used the 2023 balloon release last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, as an opportunity to give back and bring the community together. In honor of his grandparents, he ordered food from Turkey Leg Hut in Houston, Texas. The food fed 250 to 300 individuals as part of Barnes Street was closed off.

“It’s all family in Clarksdale,” said Ross as he arrived to honor his grandparents. Ross also spoke after the blessing of the food was completed.

“It’s a wonderful experience when I come back here,” he said. “Of course, I can’t help but think of all the beautiful memories of my amazing grandmother, my amazing grandfather. Everybody out here, we’re all family. You better believe it, love.”

Ross and other family members wore t-shirts and sweatshirts with pictures of Tommie Jr. and Rosie Lee Fields. Linda Fields Thomas, the daughter of Tommie Jr. and Rosie Lee Fields and aunt of Ross, was one of the main organizers of the event.

“My mother was special because she was a matriarch of the community,” Thomas said. “When she cooked, she didn’t just cook for our family. She cooked for the whole community. Anybody that wanted something to eat could come to Momma’s house.”

Thomas said her mother cooked chicken, spaghetti, soup, dressing, and much more. She added the most popular food her mother cooked was vegetable soup.

“It was just delicious. Everything that Momma cooked was good,” Thomas said. “It’s just no ending to what she cooked. Whatever she cooked, she could take a little bit and feed everybody, and they wouldn’t leave hungry.”

Thomas said her parents were a team with her father being a businessman and her mother taking care of the family and community.

“It was her job to take care of all the children and the grands,” Thomas said. “When they got out (of school) and when the bus pulled up, they pulled up at her house. You had meals waiting for them. They had to do their homework.”

Ross was also helping to honor his grandparents by providing hot meals at the balloon release the day before Thanksgiving in 2023. Lynn Price, owner of Turkey Leg Hut in Houston, Texas, is Ross’ best friend. Ross called Price two days before the balloon release asking him to provide hot meals, and he answered the call.

Price, along with other Turkey Leg Hut representatives, drove approximately 10 hours to Clarksdale to provide the meals. Turkey Leg Hut served wagyu beef, tomahawk steaks, premium beef, alligators, fresh catfish, homemade cheesecakes, desserts, crab legs, turkey legs, and more.

Price said he and Ross are like family. “When he calls for family, we come out,” Price said. “It’s about the holidays. It’s about giving away. He likes the best of the best so we don’t cut no corners.”

Mayor Chuck Espy came to the event to show his support. “This is how they roll in the City of Clarksdale,” he said. “What a great day!” Ward 3 Commissioner Willie Turner was also present.

“Today is a good day,” he said. “It’s always a day of Thanksgiving when somebody would share his fortune back with the community.”

Ross’ family expressed similar sentiments. “I’m just happy that we’re able to do it today and be able to bless others,” said Ross’ sister Tawanda Roberts. Cameron Fields, the grandson of Tommie Jr. and Rosie Lee Fields, spoke before the balloon release. “I think my grandma’s in a great place,” he said.

 

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