Its been four years but it feels like yesterday I had just returned to Toronto after a Hotter Than July/Pride weekend... My friends here had thrown me a Birthday dinner and when I got home I got the phone call I had not wanted to receive. I was back in Detroit two days later... Losing a friend is not easy, Losing Montrice was even harder for so many of us whom he had touched with his life. For several of us the thought of it still causes heart ache... but it also invokes so many memories as well.
Montrice was the heart of our circle... a very large and devoted circle created by the love this guy had for all his friends. Some of my most fond memories was the visits I made after moving to Toronto.. I would sleep on the couch or the floor or where ever but no matter where that was I felt like I was home! That was the way we all felt.
In his own quiet way Montrice knew how to be in the moment with you.... He had a dry sense of humor and there were many laughs over the years... he would call local club promoters(who were buff and ripped), Kittens and call the drag queens Muffins! When He greeted you it would be "Whats T or Whats Shakkin?" A consummate dresser, cook, devoted partner to Corey and friend to all of us... If I could prepare a Monty dish and throw on some Jazz or Will Downing CD for you to enjoy with the following pics I would.. Just to give you a taste of the joy he brought to all of us.
(Some of the comments below were contributed by Lasaunji, Joe and Damon)
"I believe this to be one of my first photos of Montrice... Its actually a Polaroid image from one of the many parties we attended. When ever I think of him and Jaris, this is the image that comes to mind... they were both so young then!"
"Ha! this was the day I first met Lewis Smith! I remember thinking who the hell is this gas bag, boisterous is an understatement.. Lewis had just finished school and was a typical Alpha! Anyways... Lewis was trying to steal a piece of Montrice's Pork Chop here and looking at me like who the hell is this white boy taking my picture!" "I knew then we would be friends!"
"Monty and Lewis at the Serengeti Ballroom for a Ken Collier benefit... called Earth Quake! Both of them were shall we say full(to much to drink) and feeling it!"
"Monty actin silly in Washington Square Park in NYC"
"The love of Monty's life.. Corey! The life of the party and in many ways the extrovert to Montys introvert... This was taken at my apartment in the Parkstone.. One of the first image of the two of them!"
Wow! Aaron (the love of my life) Monty, Me with very long hair and Jarris!"
Joe: "mmm well.... us coming to visit you(in Toronto) and we went shopping and he had on his jacket, is called a sailor jacket, which Corey gave to me."
"Saturday morning.... we would always see who made it to the eastern market first, cause we would buy the Gladiolas. He would call, "Chile you been to eastern market, the flowers are almost gone, or i would get there first, cause he's home cooking for a party that we all are going to that evening,,,,, You have your flower, No.. what colors they have? Bring me orange and yellow, ok I'm on my way....."
Lasaunji: "I woke up to this beautiful morning soaking up the sunshine and feeling wonderful. I jumped in the car and started reciting my traveling morning prayer of thanks. Then I got to the part where I pray thanks for the love of my wonderful family and friends. When I got to the light at the end of my street, it hit me that today is the anniversary of Montrices' passing (4 years ago today).
I'm sure we all remember where we were and what we were doing that day. I actually smiled the rest of the way to work, remembering Montrice, his way, his smile and his voice. I wanted to share with you all, I love you and value you dearly as a friend."
"Monty, William and Harry!"
"OK here is Lewis, Monty and Corey who for what ever reason I cant remember is pissed at me... At the fountain in DuPont Circle in Washington DC"
"Here's the gang ridding the TTC Rocket in Toronto on one of their many visits"
"Nigel and Monty!"
"This is from one of Coreys Birthday parties... god I still had hair!"
Damon: "I just think about all of the father and son Saturdays I spent with Montrice shopping at TJ Maxx, Marshall's and hitting all of the outlets and learning how to look fabulous on a modest budget. Getting ready for all of the wonderful parties that helped keep our family close and create such a wonderful pantheon of memories and friendships."
Helping to shop for Christmas beginning in October and learning the power of layaway. Hearing him say "oooooo, the girls". There is so much of him in me and the way that I run my family and hold tight to my friends and extended family.
"DeWayne and Monty at a HTJ White Party!"
"Acting Crazy here!.. Daryl who is standing in front is the one who introduced me to Montrice and Jarris when they lived on Agnes on the east side..."
"How many parties do we all have pictures from? So many.. laid end to end you can track every fashin trend for a decade!"
"I was telling Lewis on Monday that I had a dream about Montrice on Saturday… Because of my Birthday and Caribana I had been partying non stop since Thursday night and in my dream I am at a party at some club and Monty walks up to me… And Im standing there with my mouth open trying to figure how this is happening and he says “Whats shakkin” and Im like “um what?” Then he says to me “whered you get that outfit?” in a less than approving way… “we need to go shoppin!” and with that I woke up! Kinda weird dream that I chalked up to eating one of the corner street dogs that Monty and Corey liked so much when they came here…. but to be honest its been a little challenging here lately and my wardrobe has been lacking a refresh… so maybe he was trying to tell me something…Jeezzz like a fashion shove from the grave… ;-) now that’s terrible! But then again thats just what Monty would say!"
Note: All images and text (not specified) is copyrighted by Christopher Cushman. This site does not specify or denote the sexual orientation of any model and as such please post your comments accordingly.