Lloyd Cornelius Porter - Gone but not forgotten online


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Lloyd Cornelius Porter

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In picture: Lloyd Cornelius Porter with his wife Hillary and daughter MacLemore.

Lloyd Cornelius Porter with his wife Hillary and daughter MacLemore.

The crowd wound down the street and around the block for a socially-distanced candlelight procession for Lloyd Cornelius Porter, an actor and entrepreneur dubbed the “Mr. Hooper” of his beloved Sesame Street-like neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Porter, 49, died from complications related to COVID-19 early Wednesday.

That evening, dozens of locals gathered, in masks and many in Porter's trademark bowtie and hat, to parade past the home he lived in with his wife Hillary and daughter MacLemore, a fifth-grader.

One mourner held a handwritten sign that read “Bread Love, it’s the Brooklyn way,” a tribute to Bread Love, the neighborhood bakery Porter ran with Hillary, named in honor of another beloved Brooklyn son. Another wore a Bread-Stuy T-shirt, from when the Porters ran a local cafe in the brownstone-filled historically black neighborhood for nearly a decade.

A neighbor, and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brother, led a gospel tune. Someone started playing songs by his brother, Grammy award-winning jazz singer Gregory Porter from their car.

"You don’t get that kind of processional he got if you haven't impacted the lives around you," close friend Keith Arthur Bolden told BuzzFeed News. "He would hold court. People just look to him to lead, to be the pulse."

Most people who grew up with him in California knew him as Corn or Neil. Hillary called him Corny. In Brooklyn, his home of nearly 20 years, he was Lloyd. His mother actually named him "Sir Lloyd" on his birth certificate, Bolden said.

Bolden and Porter first met in college at Fresno State University 29 years ago, and went on to become fraternity brothers, groomsmen for each other, fellow actors, and later, neighbors for a time in Bed-Stuy "Low-key, I’ve always wanted to be like him," said Bolden, who once dressed up as Porter in a flour-covered Bread-Stuy T-shirt for Halloween. "He was the most courageous person I know."

Porter opened several businesses over the years, nurturing them to be community spaces. Hillary was the baker, he was the one cracking jokes and charming customers. He hired artists and people who struggled to get work elsewhere. He encouraged people to write books and doctorates sitting at the tables and allowed film students to turn the cafe into a set.