Jorge Hurtado dreamed of singing in front of sell-out crowds and fans coming out in droves to catch an earful of his smooth rap flow. Last Wednesday, Room 330 at June Jordan High School was packed to capacity. But this wasn’t exactly how Hurtado had pictured it. The guests were supposed to be at his concert – not his memorial.
“Tha Crossroads,” the classic hip-hop song by Bone Thugs and Harmony, spilled into the halls. “It’s steadily creeping up on the family exactly how many days we got lasting,” the song echoes. “While you laughing, we’re passing, passing away.”
“We can’t have this anymore,” said Hurtado’s seventh grade teacher. “To think we will walk our way without him. He didn’t want any of this.”
The 18-year-old, who was supposed to start school at San Francisco State University the following day, was shot in the Mission District last Sunday at around 1 a.m., according to Sgt. Wilfred Williams, spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department.
Hurtado wanted to get his degree as a counselor, according to his sister, Blanca Hurtado.
The suspect jumped into a SUV and fled the scene. Hurtado was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital.
The Mission District native graduated from June Jordan High School in 2006.
“Imagine a mother losing her 18-year-old,” a recording of Hurtado rapping asked the crowd in a video shown of his performance at a poetry slam – one of many where he participated and won trophies.
Oriana Ides, Hurtado’s former Peace and Conflict teacher, set up a table in the back of the room, where mourners wrote messages and memories on heart-shaped paper.
Four candles surrounded copies of Hurtado’s poems written in Spanish:
Muchos me llaman un cabron
(Many call me an asshole)
Piensan que yo no tengo Corazon
(They think I have no heart)
Vine de la mission
(I came from the Mission)
Donde todos ensenan competicion
(Where everyone’s competitive)
Y para vivir ahi tienes que tener Corazon
(You gotta have heart to live there)
“Anybody ever get a phone call from Jorge late at night?” Noel Rojas, his cousin, asked the crowd. Hands shot up and the mood lifted as friends recalled Hurtado’s habit of calling friends and family at 2 a.m. to insist they hear his latest beats.
“I got a new song for you,” Rojas recalled Hurtado saying.
Baily Fan, a close friend, recalled the evolution of their friendship. “We didn’t get along at first. I thought his lyrics were wack,” Fan told the mourners. “I spoke to him one night after a break-up,” she remembered. A few minutes later, she found a get-well card and a teddy bear waiting on her door-steps.
“Who does that?”
Viola Hurtado, Jorge’s mother, stood up and addressed the room. “I don’t have the words,” she said. “I just don’t have the words.” A simple Virgen de Guadalupe gold pendant about the size of a sunflower seed hung on her neck as mourners offered their support.
Afterwards, students clustered outside. They had to go to school tomorrow. They lit up a cigarette and passed it around. They blew smoke in the air and watched as it disappeared.