On November 21, 2021, rapper Young Dolph was gunned down in Memphis, his hometown, leaving his fiancée Mia Jaye and children, Tre and Aria, to pick up the pieces. Prior to his passing, and due to the growing gun violence in her city, Jaye launched “Black Men Deserve To Grow Old,” a service and merchandise brand. Its philanthropic mission is rooted in the unique violence Black men face daily, with 25 percent of all profit going towards a fund Jaye uses to give resources to families impacted by violence. Now her daughter, Aria Ella Thornton, is following in her footsteps to honor her dad while also acknowledging the pain of her grief.
Young Dolph’s daughter launched her signature, The Aria Collection, on her birthday. The collection is a part of Black Men Deserve to Grow Old. She handcrafted the design using drawings she sketched during her art therapy sessions. The collection highlights creative expression and inspires healing for young children who’ve lost their fathers. The child is learning how to cope with and accept her father’s passing despite the challenge of accepting such a harsh, devastating, and permanent reality. With guidance from therapy, her faith community, her mother, and the support of her family, she is constantly learning how to communicate her undying love for him through her creativity. To accompany the collection, Aria also penned a poem entitled “Daughters Deserve Their Father.”
“Daughters Deserve Their Fathers.”
Daughters need Fathers so we can enjoy life together.
Daughters need Fathers so we can have a good time together.
Daughters need Fathers because they love you like a shining beautiful star.
Daughters need Fathers to give them chocolate baby smooches.
Daughters need Fathers to give their daughters all their love.
Daughters need Fathers to live happily ever after together.
I am the daughter of Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., and I needed my Father.
Forever in my heart,
Daddies Chocolate Baby (Aria)
The collection will feature selected parts of the poem and was slightly augmented to speak on behalf of all children grieving the loss of a father. It features a drawing by her that illustrates the love shared between God, father and daughter. The design is a screen print and comes in sweatshirts and an adult T-shirt. The adult white tee retails at $55 in sizes S-2XL. A portion of the proceeds goes towards the BMDTGO Cares Fund, which helps amplify the voices of grassroots organizations and aids families tragically impacted by gun violence.