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tv   Nightline  ABC  January 12, 2022 12:37am-1:06am PST

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, the tragic death of young dolph. the celebrated rapper cut down in his prime. >> he was your favorite rapper's favorite rapper. >> his alleged killer taunting authorities on social media before finally being captured today. the senseless violence reminding so many of other hip-hop greats gone too soon. >> rappers are becoming an ebb dinged species. abbott elementary. >> there have been three presidents since this one, it's an old book. here's where i taped in the others. >> the hit comedy set in a philadelphia school. >> we about to be on tv! >> because they are covering underfunded, poorly managed in
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poor areas of america. >> the brainchild of sensation quinta brunson. >> we got money! >> you are just the latest of young black craters charting this new path. >> people want to watch this. people want to watch these stories. ple want t does sinus congestion and pressure make breathing feel impossible especially at night? try vicks sinex. unlike most sinus treatments, it provides instant relief that lasts up to 12 hours. its powerful decongestant targets congestion at the source, with a dual action formula that relieves nasal congestion and soothes sinus pressure by reducing swelling in the sinuses. for instant relief that lasts up to 12 hours, try vicks sinex. from vicks - trusted relief for over 125 years. [sfx: voice relief]
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thanks for joining us tonight. i'm janai norman. there are developments in the investigation into the killing of young dolph, the promising rapper and father of two. just hours ago, authorities arrested a suspect, and we've learned a second man, already in custody, has been indicted on murder charges. the news comes two months after young dolph's violent death. here's "nightline's" ashan singh. >> reporter: in many ways, memphis is music city. it's rock 'n' roll and it's the blues. it's gospel, jazz, and soul too. it's a city that's fostered so many music dreams. it's here that a young rapper, adolph thornton jr., had his own dreams. it all came to a tragic, heartbreaking end just two months ago. >> young dolph has been shot dead in memphis. >> reporter: gunned down while buying cookies at his favorite bakery in memphis. one of his alleged killers posting on social media, on the run nearly a week, captured today by u.s. marshals.
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the 36-year-old rapper's murder another in a seemingly endless series of hip-hop artists struck down in the prime of their lives by senseless violence. >> rappers are becoming endangered species. if you look at the press and the news, every time you see somebody, somebody's getting stabbed, robbed, shot, killed. >> reporter: a pattern former nypd detective derrick parker knows all too well. he spent his career investigating the deaths of rap artists, working on two of the most infamous unsolved murders of all time, tupac and the notorious b.i.g. >> is vie lips endemic in hip-hop, in your opinion? >> yes. ♪ >> reporter: young dolph was an independent artist whose calling card was authenticity and unique voice. rising to prominence in 2014 with hits like "preach." ♪ >> reporter: and a collaboration with o.t. genesis on the multi-platinum hit "cut it."
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♪ cut it cut it ♪ >> who was he as an artist? >> he was a storyteller of the streets. he was a storyteller of the issues that was happening in society. >> reporter: like many before him, young dolph was far too familiar with the violence that often surrounds the hip-hop industry. surviving two shootings in 2017 and releasing his album "bullet-proof." with the track "100 shots." inspired by the incident. ♪ 100 shots 100 drops ♪ >> reporter: last november, young dolph was in makeda's cookies, one of his favorite bakeries in memphis he'd just visited the week before. >> what you get, chocolate chip? >> straight out of the oven. >> reporter: in broad daylight, police say two armed men fired into the store multiple times before fleeing the scene. >> he's known to wear white. this is a big blow to this community. >> reporter: his death sending shock waves through the rap community.
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tributes pouring in on social media from fellow artists like rick ross, chance the rapper, gucci man, megan thee stallion writing, "rest in peace to my friend, a true legend, dolph." nowhere was the rapper more celebrated than his memphis community, and dolph loved them back. >> sometimes people make it and you don't see them again, they don't ever give back. he blew that out of the water. supporting his high school, supporting the community, giving away turkeys and food and clothes. >> let's do our jobs as parents -- >> reporter: his partner and mother of his two kids, mia joerdine. "black men deserve to grow old." posting on youtube. >> we've got to do better by these kids. teach them death ain't the way. there's so many different types ways. so many different types of solutions. >> reporter: posting to youtube,
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unaware young dolph would meet the same fate. >> every day i have to pass by that site where young dolph was murdered to drop my own kids off to school. right above that site, you see the billboard, "young black men deserve to grow old." it's just such a -- a poignant e leedsp oected shooters. later identified as 32-year-old cornelius smith and justin johnson. a 23-year-old rapper who goes by the stage name "straight drop." memphis police issued a first-degree murder warran for johnson last week in connection with young dolph's death. over the weekend, a now-deleted instagram account that police say belonged to johnson posted the message "turning myself in monday at 201." a reference to the men's prison in downtown memphis. adding, "i'm innocent, i'll be back sooner than you can blink." the 23-year-old never showed up. instead, the same day he was supposed to turn himself in, he released this music video for a song called "track hawk."
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♪ boys stop playing beat the shots in 20 second [ bleep ] ♪ >> reporter: lyrics seemingly calling more attention to the case. ♪ i got choppers why they know i paid you all the guns up in my ♪ >> reporter: today johnson was captured by u.s. marshals in indiana. 55 days after the shooting. and authorities also announced that smith, the other suspect, had been arrested last month for vehicle theft in relation to the shooting. today, he was indicted on first-degree murder charges. authorities have yet to release any information on a possible motive. >> they'll get to the bottom of all of that. i think the public really wants to know why this guy got killed like that. >> reporter: young dolph's life, his generosity, his community spirit, and untimely death are reminiscent of the 2019 murder of another beloved rapper. nipsey hussle. >> he was the neighborhood prince. he brought hope and change to the community. >> reporter: since nipsey's
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death, the hip-hop community has been reeling from a steady stream of loss. pop smoke. king vaughn. most recently, draco the ruler. >> the list could keep going on and on, unfortunately. but to look at these individuals' lives that mattered, that can help advance a story and really get community and activists and elected officials to really asking the questions of why this had happened. and listen to the music. listen to what they're saying. >> reporter: a sentiment that runs strong among the ogs in the industry, like snoop dogg. following draco the ruler's fatal stabbing last month at a los angeles festival, snoop called for peace, writing on instagram, i'm not with anything negative, please take care, love one another, and stay safe, y'all. but the calls for peace have to be met by action. and law enforcement has struggled to solve the torrents of cases in the community. >> i try to say, the reason that
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it's violent is because of the things that go on within it. the gangs again. the dissed records. the beefs. the power to be on top. everybody wants to be on top, everybody wants to be big. >> do you expect to see more violence? >> i definitely see more violence because the way things are going in this industry and these rappers coming up the way they are, i do see it, yes. >> it's too easy to put it on hip-hop? to put it just on hip-hop? is it fair to the genre, it isn't community to the community of hip-hop, it's not fair to the pioneers of hip-hop. it's a product of our society, which is america. >> reporter: while many questions still surround young dolph's death, his friends say it's important to remember him for who he was while he was here. >> i wonder, did he know how much he was loved? i feel like he's a classic case of, did we not give him his flowers while he was here with us? i think that's also a lesson to be learned is we always need to make sure we give the flowers to those who are still living, to show our appreciation.
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>> reporter: his lasting legacy in the flesh, dolph's young son promising to do right by his father. >> he trained me to be a good man when i grow up. now i'm just going to -- i'm going to make it up to the whole world, i'm going to be the greatest person you'll ever know. [ cheers and applause ] >> our thanks to ashan. up next, we meet the creator and star of the new hit sitcom "abbott elementary." [upbeat acoustic music throughout] [upbeat acoustic music throughout] [upbeat acoustic music throughout]
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quinta brunson is used to making people laugh. her comedy has been known to light up the internet. and now she's taking her talents to television and the new hit show "abbott elementary." >> britney, my favorite movie is "american gangster" and my favorite character is frank lucas. okay. that is a great sentence. and i will be having a third talk with your mom about what you're watching at home. >> reporter: it's a special brand of humor and hilarity. >> oh! quinta brunson brings to the screen. >> oh, janine. ♪ you're so lovely ♪ >> good morning, missy! >> reporter: on her new hit show "abbott elementary." >> to me it's one of the most heartfelt and funny stories that i've been able to tell. >> reporter: her journey to network tv started on your phone.
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you might remember first seeing her pop up in memes and viral videos. >> whoo! >> large popcorn. >> a large? you got the money! >> reporter: which of your sketches do you think has been the most relatable? >> the most relatable? there's one sketch that every year resurfaces and goes viral. >> silver medalist, got to hurt but she tried her best out here. >> i sure did. listen, i'm at the olympics and i got second place, what place did you get today? all right, buddy. stay warm out here, all right? >> reporter: brunson's viral fame led to a stint at buzzfeed and roles in movies and tv shows like "the black lady sketch show." >> it's a black lady courtroom. >> reporter: now taking the next step, writing and creating her own network television sitcom, brainchild "abbott elementary" on abc. is this the dream for you? to be doing this? >> when i was younger, i was obsessed with sitcoms.
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wanted to be in them. then i learned about the idea that you could write them. so i wanted to write them. so all of this kind of checks out. >> reporter: the new show, debuting to rave reviews and growing a fan base after just one episode, is a workplace comedy about a group of teachers in philadelphia trying to make their students' lives better even when the odds are stacked the against them. >> so there have been three presidents since this one. it's an old book. so here's where i taped in the others. >> reporter: brunson is not only the boss behind the camera, she's also the star. a naive newbie named janine. >> creating videos for instagram and social media, that's still, you know -- took the same skill set of creation and writing that goes into creating a show. it's all storytelling and comedy. >> oh, nina. excellent sentence structure. >> reporter: this project is personal. "abbott elementary" is based on
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brunson's experience growing up in philadelphia. >> the philadelphia public schools i grew up in, there were black teachers, white teachers, hispanic teachers, christian teachers, catholic teachers, muslim teachers, as well as the student body population. >> reporter: the show is also a love letter to brunson's own mother, a retired kindergarten teacher. >> my mom loved teaching, no matter how hard the job got. and it got very hard. >> reporter: she even immortalized her mom by putting hehe scrn. >> bye, mom. i'm sorry, miss howard. bye, miss howard. >> reporter: creating a character based on her no-nonsense approach to teaching. >> my mom is unimpressed. has been around the bend, you know. she knows what works and what doesn't. she's a super sweet woman, though. and i think that's what people will see in barbara's character. >> this isn't happy hour. you are the child's teacher.
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>> reporter: legendary actress sheryl lee ralph takes on the role of barbara, "abbott elementary's" reigning matriarch. >> one of our best and most senior teachers, she never complains. what is your secret? >> knowing there's not much you can do, ava. >> reporter: one of the original dream girls, ralph is no stranger to the stage or screen and credits "abbott's" success to just one person. >> wizard with the glue gun. >> i think it's because of our leader. i call her the tiny titan. quinta may be 32 years old, but she is so smart, so talented, so kind. she's an incredible writer. she leads with love. and she has created the best working experience for all of us. >> reporter: brunson now joining the ranks alongside the likes of issa rae and michaela coel, female entertainers writing, producing, and starring in their own projects.
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who are just the latest of these young black creators who started off online, on social media, and are making this -- charting this new path. >> the thing that i think was great about social media is it gave so many people another stage. i think that proved to be really beneficial for anyone in a marginalized community who wasn't getting a shot to communicate to networks the value of their product. >> want some egg white bites? >> no, i don't have time to eat. >> reporter: "abbott elementary" uses comedy to shine a light on real issues impacting the philly public school system, from funding to teacher turnover. >> when i first started teaching, i was constantly thinking about the lack of resources. we don't really have time to think about what we don't have, we have to make do with what we do have.
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>> reporter: maureen boland has been teaching in philadelphia for about 19 years, and she says she finally sees herself reflected on television. >> i was surprised by how accurate the show really is. i can't imagine any other profession where every day there are opportunities to serve kids and to serve families and to feel connection and compassion and to watch kids grow. it still really does excite me. the benefits are hard to see, but they're really satisfying when you can feel them. >> this isn't okay, all right? >> reporter: with "abbott elementary" brunson is seamlessly striking the delicate balance, using laughs and light-hearted moments to tackle tough moments and drive home the importance of educators. >> you're on a mission. it's cool to see. >> thank you. just a day in the life of being a teacher here. you get used to it. >> teachers are moral compasses for a lot of kids. and i think from the show, or i
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hope, people will see what a crucial part teachers play in kids' lives. i just hope that we can look at their place in the community as vital, especially in a city like philadelphia. >> "abbott elementary" airs tuesdays on abc and streams on hulu, owned by our parent company, disney. up next, a preview of juju chang's exclusive interview with jamie lynn spears, britney's younger sister. to what's possible... with rybelsus®. the majority of people taking rybelsus® lowered their blood sugar and reached an a1c of less than 7. rybelsus® isn't for people with type 1 diabetes. don't take rybelsus® if you or your family ever had medullary thyroid cancer or have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, or if allergic to it. stop rybelsus® and get medical help right away if you get a lump or swelling in your neck, severe stomach pain, or an allergic reaction. serious side effects may include pancreatitis.
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♪ ♪ finally here tonight, actress jamie lynn spears says she's ready to tell her own story, exclusively speaking to our own juju chang about her family and her relationship with her older sister britney. >> what was your reaction when the conservatorship was dissolved? >> i mean, i was happy. i was -- first off, i don't understand when it was put into place, nor was i focused on that. i was focused on the fact that i was a 17-year-old about to have a baby. i understand just as little about it then as i do now. if that's what makes britney and everyone else happy, that's what should happen.
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>> more of juju's interview in the morning on "gma" and tomorrow right here on "nightline." that's "nightline." you can catch all our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back here at the same time tomorrow. good night.

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