If there’s anyone who deserves their flowers for their contributions to society, it’s Steven Anderson. Born and raised in Houston, TX, specifically in the Fifth Ward, Steven was known for many things. He was an activist, poet, rapper, brother, and friend to so many people. His presence made you gravitate towards him. He demanded your attention without having to say a word. He used his voice, actions, and platform to empower and protect the Black community by any means necessary. The Fifth Ward prophet was a humanitarian like no other. However, more than a year ago, Steven had passed away due to cancer. It was a devastating loss to everyone who knew and loved him. Although he is not here with us, his legacy continues to grow in more ways than one. In part two of this story, you will read about Steven’s life and legacy through his friends and loved ones. These people have been impacted by Steven and they want to let everyone know what a kind, caring, loving, and honorable man he was. He may be gone, but he is forever in our hearts. This is for you Steven. We hope this made you proud.
Steven was such an amazing, promising, and loving young man. I first met Steven his freshman year and my first impression of him was the pretty boy with the colored eyes and the ponytail. He was chopping it up with the young ladies and successfully shooting his shot. I said, “This kid is going to be trouble.” He was somebody who was committed to the cause. He was for the advancement of Black people. As soon as he stepped foot on campus, he was finding ways to get involved. He was an activist, brother, frat brother, and friend to many. He meant a lot to a lot of people and something I always appreciated about him was his passion. He was there any protest, demonstration, or event geared towards the advancement of Black and brown people. Whether it was educational or a meeting with the administrative on campus, he was there. The first time I had any interaction with him; I was president of the NAACP. He asked me how could I get involved and the next thing I know he’s showing up at every event. Then, the next thing I know he’s applying for a chair. After that, he ended up reaching out to one of my line brothers for membership in Alpha Phi Alpha. Then, the next thing I know we’re overseeing his intake process.
He was a fighter. I remember there was a protest on campus around 2016. This was during the height of the Trump era and Richard Spencer, an alt-right activist, planned on coming to campus to host an event at A&M. There was a lot of support for him because we’re at a conservative school. There was so much tension on both sides that police in riot gear were out there separating the two opposing groups. I remember seeing a picture and video of Steven right there on the frontlines yelling at this other guy on the opposing side. He’s speaking his mind and getting his ideas out there. I’ve never seen anyone that passionate and brave. There are also pictures and videos of him talking calmly to others who have opposing viewpoints. He’s so good at eloquently getting his ideas off. He was able to show his passionate and calm side while having empathy and patience. He was just a loving and charismatic person. I can’t think of a single person on campus who had a gripe with Steven. Everything that he talked about; he was really about. People gravitate towards human beings who have that genuine nature about them. He was always a person you can count on. If you just needed a shoulder to cry on, he was there for you.
My last conversion with Steven was about anime. Attack on Titan was one of his favorite animes and I was just starting to get into it. I was asking him for clarification on some plotlines I didn’t understand and he’s breaking it down for me. It was cool to share something we both love and bond over. What makes the connection over Attack on Titan so special is because one of my favorite characters in the show, Erwin Smith, gave a speech right before he died. I always think about Steven when I read that speech. I saved it on my Notes app. In the show, Erwin talks about how he and his comrades are facing imminent death. He further explains what their duty is as people living for the people who come after them. I’ll read you the speech real quick:
“Everyone will die someday. Does that mean life is meaningless? Would you say that about our comrades? Were their lives meaningless? No, they weren’t! It’s us who gives meaning to our comrade’s lives. The brave fallen. The anguish fallen. We die trusting the living who follow to give meaning to our lives. That is the sole method by which we can rebel against this cruel world. My soldiers rage! My soldiers scream! My soldiers fight!”
I always think about that when I think of Steven because he fought and did everything he could to make the lives of the people who come after him better in the short life that he did have on this earth in the short life that he did have on this earth. The way that we could honor his life is by continuing the fight he was in. He lives on through us by continuing that fight for housing justice, racial justice, and environmental justice. I know if Steven was alive today, he would be at all these protests for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, etc. He would be out in the streets and on social media. He would do everything in his power to bring light to the issue and change the situation as well. He was such a prolific voice on campus. We owe it to him to continue his mission. His body may have perished, but his spirit lives on in all of us. This is a call to action not to let his dreams die.
Steven was one of my best friends. I met him when I was a senior in high school preparing to go to A&M. He was a people person so he would put us all in a group message because we were all going to the same school. From there, we developed a very close relationship. He stayed 10-15 minutes down the street from me. We both were greek at A&M and developed several relationships with other people. He was inspirational, a poet, and liked to write and draw. He was amazing honestly. I remember the day after I graduated from high school I wanted to go to Kemah Boardwalk. I picked him up and two of my other friends in my hooptie at the time. I should’ve known better, but I didn’t. So on our way back from Kemah, my car overheated and was kind of on fire. He was there with me on the side of the road and made me feel better about it. He was such a light that he could come to any room and brighten it up.
I remember when I was a freshman in college and me and my roommate didn’t know anybody. Parties were happening and we didn’t have a ride so Steven finds someone to give us one. We were wondering how he even knew someone to arrange a ride. He was radiant and he brought people together. He was the one that introduced the freshman class to the Department of Multicultural Services on campus. We found our home on campus through him. If we had a class president for our community, it would be him. I remember the last time I saw him before he passed. I can see that he was kinda not the same person anymore. I picked up on that very quickly. I made sure to be that person to be at the hospital for him. I told him that when they release him to please call me because I will leave work.
The last time we talked he was interested in what I was doing. I had just graduated from A&M and he wasn’t able to make it. However, he told me that he was proud of me. The conversation wasn’t mellow at all. When I was dropping him off, all he kept saying was for me to drop him off at Shipley’s! Then, he got mad at me because I was taking the long way home instead of the route his granny takes him. Unfortunately, after that, he got readmitted into the hospital and I continued to try to text him. At that point, he had stopped communicating because he was too weak to hold his phone. However, my last moments with him were never sad. His legacy is already cemented in my eyes. He was the vice president of the NAACP chapter at Texas A&M, has a Freedom Fighter award named after him, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, and has a namesake at Wheatly High School. When we held the vigil for him, the whole community of Fifth Ward came out to support him. Those are things that will last forever. His name will live forever.
Steven was a powerful brother. He was someone who was down for Black folks. He was always down to talk about racial injustice. He would write poetry about his struggles. He was just a friend overall. We weren’t super close, but we were pretty cool. He was somebody you can talk to about whatever. He was down-to-earth and so funny. I remember one time we were talking about kids and he said, “Man when I have kids, I don’t care how much money I got. I’ll still make them ride the metro so they’ll know the struggle like I did.” He was so serious, but it was so funny. That’s just a testament to how genuine he was. He was proud of where he came from and he didn’t run from it. We loved cracking jokes and scoin’ on people. That’s who he was and that’s who I saw.
The memory that sticks with me the most was the last time I saw him before he passed. I went down there the summer of 2019 and in our group message, I would always send bible scriptures every day. After graduation, I saw him and he told me, “ Lando be sending me those bible scriptures you send him. I appreciate it. It helps.” We all knew the struggle that he was dealing with, so for him to even say that meant a lot. Another moment was when I was at my apartment and he called me. I used to have really bad anxiety and depression and he called me to ask about how I coped with anxiety. We were able to be vulnerable in that conversation. It takes a lot for men to go to each other about their problems so that one meant a lot as well.
Everybody knew who Steven was. Even if you didn’t know him personally, you wanted to be around him because you knew what he was about. There was no question about who he was and what he stood up for. He was never going to back down and people saw that. His legacy will always be to live life and have fun but stand up for what you know is right. He was pro-Black in every sense and down for the cause. If people don’t remember anything else, they will remember that.
Steven was an MF. He was Huey P. Newton mixed with El DeBarge and Gil Scott-Heron. He was so headfirst in everything. He was emotional and open. He meant everything to me. We came from similar backgrounds so that’s how we clicked. We were hanging out before we even went to A&M. In the summertime, we would go to the club together and we would go to each other’s cribs. He was headlining on CNN getting into it with white supremacists. He had a lot of courage. I remember when we first got to A&M and got our first refund check. We had no idea what to do with it because we never had that much money before. So we caught a bus to the mall, splurged, and spent all that money. Also, I remember our second day at A&M when Steven knew this one upperclassman who got us so drunk that night. Steven and I were laid out in the truck super fried. We were the only two freshmen who were invited so we thought we were live. He was always himself and never hid who he was.
My second to the last conversation with Steven was that he was doing better. The doctor was giving him the good news and everything was going great. He asked me when I was coming back down to see him. My last conversation with him was when things weren’t going too well. He was really tired when I called him. You can tell he was hurting and it hurt me. The next couple of days or so, I tried to facetime him and he didn’t like being on facetime because he didn’t look the same. We just said, “I love you” to each other and he was comfortable in that conversation. I got a sense that he was ready and accepted his fate. Steven was passionate about everything he did from being an Alpha, activist, and just a regular person. He loved everybody and his friends were legit his family. He came from broken homes, being homeless, and in situations with his family. He was looking for love and that’s why I gravitated towards him. He left a legacy of passion and love.
I remember seeing a movie about 2Pac and they said, “If you asked 10 people about 2Pac, you’re going to get 10 different answers.” That’s the same thing with Steven. He could be a radical, poet, confidant, rapper, or someone you don’t want to get on their bad side. He could be any of those things, but to me, he was the light that was going to brighten up the darkness for everyone else. I saw potential in him because he was so unapologetically himself at all times. There was never a time where he folded on his morals or principles for somebody else’s gratification. If he wanted to do something, it was going to be for Steven. I’m just sad because I knew he wanted to go back to Fifth Ward and pass on that knowledge to everyone. He was going to change his whole neighborhood.
I remember it was his freshman year at A&M and they would have a string of parties a week before school starts. It was called “Gig ‘Em Week” and Steven’s class was so big that we didn’t send invites to them. However, somehow, they found a way and it’s because they had connections. We didn’t know how they found out about it because we didn’t post them on the internet or anything. Anyways, during the party, some Chief Keef came on and I immediately locked eyes with Steven. The next thing I know, we’re in the mosh pit just vibing. I haven’t even introduced myself to him and we’re just having a good time. A moment that will stick with me forever. Steven was just a genuine person who’s going to give you the unfiltered truth and love. I’ve seen people share stories about Steven and I wouldn’t even know he had that side to him. He would always try to connect with you.
My last conversation with Steven was when I took him to chemotherapy. It was a funny trip because we rode down to Houston, we finally get to the hospital, and they told us they don’t have his appointment. He had to reschedule, but he eventually got his appointment. During that trip, he took me to where he grew up, he let me meet his uncles, and we got Frenchy’s afterward. It was a real genuine moment and I didn’t have conversations with him after that because he was going through chemo. Steven’s legacy is indescribable because he deeply impacted people at such a level. People knew Steven was for them and they were for Steven. His legacy will be about love, triumph, and compassion.