Songwriter Diana Gordon, who wrote the now infamous ‘Becky with the good hair’ line on Beyonce’s chart-topping album Lemonade, has been reunited with her long-lost brother after a remarkable chance encounter in Los Angeles.
Diana, 28, said she recognized her brother, David, sitting homeless at a bus stop 3,000 miles from her home. The siblings were raised along with four other brothers and sisters by a single mother in Queens, NY, who struggled to take care of her six children abandoned by their father.
In the face of these challenges, David filled in for the absence of his father and would pack bags at a local supermarket to raise money to help his sisters.
Writing about the moment she found her older brother sitting on two crates on the street in Los Angeles, Diana said: ‘After the first decade went by, I lost hope of ever finding him. These last few years, I accepted the fact that we were never going to find him… in my heart I had put him to rest.’
The siblings’ paths couldn’t have been more different. Diana – who was the middle child in their home in South Jamaica – pursued a successful music career and landed her first record deal when she was 19 years old.
She’s gone on to write hit songs for Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez and Ciara, as well as Beyonce and is a successful singer and performer in her own right.
Of the moment she recognized him and stopped the car, she wrote: ‘My heart was beating, the tears had already begun to pour down my face. You see, after the first decade went by, I lost hope of ever finding him.
Disheveled in a black hoodie and a pair of pajamas, David smiled at Diana when she introduced herself but it was clear the last 16 years away from home had taken a toll.
‘When I said hello, he beamed his old megawatt smile that is now missing two teeth and gave me a light-hearted, childlike “hey, how are you?” he did not recognize me as his sister.
‘As I continued to talk to him, I quickly realized my brother who had once built computers and gadgets out of spare parts has suffered severely in ways I have only begun to understand.
‘His memory is fragmented. His spirit defeated. He has only had his own thoughts to comfort him during this long stretch of time and because of that, a form of mental illness has set in.’
‘I remember when we were kids, all of the little things that took away the sting of the pain inflicted on him: a movie, a certain cereal, a comic strip. Those small, little pleasures that children enjoy are the only things he has been gently asking me for.
‘I guess that was the only way for him to survive all these years. His happy place.’
Diana still has hopes of merging paths with David and has since connected him with his other sisters via FaceTime and has also shown him several old photographs of the family together.
‘I convinced him to come back with me to my house with the promise of a warm bed and food. He was hesitant, thinking it was a trick. He is not used to any sort of kindness. I will do everything in my power to see him through to healing. He needs a break in his life…he has never had a single one.’
The singer-songwriter is hoping to create a new normal for her brother and even organised a birthday bash for him last month. Diana has since reached out to hospitals, counselors, social workers and friends to plan David’s next chapter and has set up a Gofundme page to help raise money for her brother to get back on his feet.
‘What has become apparent is that it is going to take a lot of care, time, nurturing, and a fair amount of money to gain some stability and consistency in his life, and to once and for all show him that he is not alone and that he is loved and worth loving. Our goals are to get him medical care, psychiatric help, and assisted living.
‘I am in the process of gaining a conservatorship lawyer. So I can be the one to make important decisions on his behalf.’