November 12, 2012
By Hasan James
Last Friday, I was stunned by an Instagram message on Associate Producer, Neily Dickerson’s timeline that had a picture of Dontavies and simply read: “Rest In Peace Dontavies Boatwright! SBS2 Fo Life.” I read that line over and over agin for about 15 seconds because I just couldn’t believe it. The last time I read about someone’s death on a social network was when Whitney had passed and this hurt just as bad…even more because Dontavies was my friend.
Dontavies Boatwright died of an apparent heart attack while at home in Jacksonville, Florida. Over the past couple of years, Dontavies was a feature performer in numerous gospel stage plays, including “He’s Not the Man I Married” and “The Fight of Her Life” and an upcoming appearance in Stage Aurora’s “The Color Purple” in the role of the preacher.
Season 2 of Sunday Best is considered by many as one of the best and most memorable seasons of the franchise. Offering great singers like Y’Anna Crawley, Jessica Reedy, Latice Crawford, Zebulon Ellis, John McClure, Jr. and the gentle giant baritone we all know as Dontavies Boatwright. Boatwright died suddenly on Friday, November 9, 2012 at the young age of 34.”Boatwright was not only a friend but a brother. We were joined at the hip during season 2 of Sunday Best. He was a gentle giant, someone who loved God and people and had a great sense of humor. To top it all of he was one of the strongest voices I had ever heard. He will forever be missed and his legacy will live on through all of us Season 2 Sunday Best contestants”, stated Sunday Best alum, John McClure, Jr.
I met Dontavies over two years ago at a Sunday Best audition in Philly and we instantly hit if off. Dontavies was charismatic, funny and very down to earth. The very next day he was texting me about eateries in Philly and considering I am an New York boy myself, I didn’t really know where to tell him to go. After a few text messages, I offered to pick him up from his hotel being that I live right outside of Philly, and I had my wife set and extra plate at the dinner table and the rest is history. Dontavies was a one of a kind type of dude. Every single time I spoke to him, he always spoke about his mother, grandparents and his sister, they were his world!
Many people don’t know, but Dontavies had a fan base outside of gospel music and his bread and butter came when he traveled to places like Italy and Russia to sing classical music, but his heart was with gospel music and although the world will never get to hear Dontavies Boatwright’s debut album, I’m sure the angels and Jesus will get to hear it and will say “Well done thy good and faithful servant.”
R.I.P. Dontavies Boatwright, you were truly a class act.
Check out our first interview with Dontavies Boatwright HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpW6Q8qVKQw