Bounce rapper 10th Ward Buck is a relentless promoter, a man constantly in motion answering phone calls and lighting up social media. The target of all this activity is usually himself: his musical career, his now-shuttered chicken wings restaurant or even his 2012 run for the City Council.
On April 22, Buck, whose real name is Marlon Horton but who jokes that only bill collectors call him that, got one of the toughest promotional gigs of his career. His sideman, dancer and friend Dennis “Flo” Floyd, 33, was gunned down by two men inside a house in the 1900 block of Abundance Street in the 7th Ward.
The murder happened one week before the pair was slated to perform for schoolchildren at Jazz Fest. Many people might have retreated in silence. Buck decided to do what he does best: throw a party.
So it was that on Saturday afternoon hundreds of mourners clad in white “Let’s Go Flo” T-shirts assembled at Annunciation Square, along with a horse-drawn carriage, sport utility vehicles blasting frenetic bounce beats and a motorcycle burning rubber. Buck said he had arranged a second-line to honor the life of “Flo” — and to send a message against the violence that took it away.
Floyd was standing outside a house a little after 11 p.m., talking to a woman, when two armed men approached him, police said. He ran inside, where he was shot by the assailants. He died at the scene.
Police are still investigating Floyd’s death, according to NOPD spokesman Tyler Gamble, and have no announcements to make about either suspects or a motive.
Buck said he doesn’t know who committed the crime, but he is sure of why they did it: jealousy.
Floyd often performed in videos for Buck’s 35,000 Instagram followers, and Buck believes Floyd’s popularity on the social network angered men who hated to see women applauding him.
“He loved to entertain the ladies,” confirmed his sister, Latasha Floyd.
Floyd often appeared in those online videos in the guise of “Floesha,” a loudmouthed woman in a wig. It was a gimmick worth some laughs for a man who boasted in song that he was 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds.
Floyd grew up in the St. Thomas housing development and attended Walter L. Cohen High School. His sister said he was a devoted son to his mother, whom he jokingly called “Fat Lady.”
When something was wrong in her life, Latasha Floyd said, her brother would sing her a song by Anita Baker and the Winans, “Ain’t No Need to Worry.”
Floyd was a carpenter who made much of his living after Hurricane Katrina by fixing up houses, she said. He dreamed of one day building his mother a house in Lake Vista.
Now his sister wants to carry on that dream for him, she said, “if I got to scrimp up pennies and nickels all through the dirt.”
Floyd would often dance along at Buck’s bounce shows. But in recent months, he was moving into the limelight himself.
After the album they cut together, Buck said, he was planning to release a solo disc this summer. Floyd’s presence in Instagram videos and the Floesha act were making him an increasingly marketable commodity in his own right.
“He got in front of my cellphone and he blossomed,” Buck said.
Floyd was practicing the night he died for that Jazz Fest set. Buck went ahead with the show after he died. In one of the videos he posted of the performance, he addresses hundreds of schoolchildren and bemoans the “senseless violence” that took his friend away.
“I want the whole world to know what we lost, because at this time in his life, he was in his prime,” Latasha Floyd said. “Somebody took it and didn’t know what it was worth. He was a moneymaker.”
On Saturday, after the parade, Buck planned an evening of music and dancing at the Carver Theater to honor his friend. Speeches against black-on-black crime and DJ sets from bounce luminaries were scheduled.
The day started with a funeral, but if Buck had anything to say about it, it would end with a celebration.