Even with Tony Snell’s grandfather Shedric Brown Sr. …

Even with Tony Snell’s grandfather Shedric Brown Sr. and uncles Eric and Shunte Brown to look out for him, Snell had to grow up quickly. Watts was rife with socioeconomic problems, gangs and crime. “It wasn’t comfortable – hearing gun shots nearly every night,” said Snell. “I was worried for my little sister.” And Sherika Brown (Snell’s mother) was terrified for them all. She bought all the latest video games to keep Snell at home. Other kids were welcome at her house, but her boy would be safe under her roof. When there were visits to the park and the playground, she went and watched Tony like a hawk. “I didn’t want him to be another statistic. Young black guy, dark skin, braids – typical how they look in L.A., but I said, ‘not my son,’ ” said Brown. “So I would go and sit in the parks with him. All day – just to watch him. “People would say, ‘You’re so overprotective.’ Well, you people need to be overprotective! You’re just sending your kids out here on the street? No. … It was hard as a single mom, but I did it. He wouldn’t have made it out of L.A. alive if I wasn’t overprotective.”
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March 19, 2018 | 5:59 am EDT Update