Ray Robinson II, 72, son of famed prizefighter, Sugar Ray Robinson and Edna Mae Holly, one of the original Cotton Club dancers, passed away peacefully on July 26, 2022, after a long battle with multiple sclerosis and metastatic aggressive prostate cancer.
Mr. Robinson was born in Sydenham Hospital on November 13, 1949, the only child of Sugar Ray’s second marriage. His early life was one of privilege, having experienced a long-remembered trip to Paris at the age of five and having known such luminaries as musicians, Miles Davis and actress Cicely Tyson.
Mr. Robinson was an independent producer and program developer for many years, having worked with the Reverend Jesse Jackson at the first Black Expo in New York City, in stage production and as a co-producer, and in Santa Monica, CA, as an exhibits service manager and assistant show manager. He contributed to, and participated in, the original Youth at Risk program, which was brought to the attention of the Points of Light Institute created under President George H.W. Bush, and which received the Points of Light award. A program innovator, Mr. Robinson conceived and produced the program, Fighter for the Future, with Assistant Deputy Commissioner Sandra Lewis Smith, of the NYC Department of Corrections, a program that empowered youthful first-time offenders at Rikers Island in NYC.
Mr. Robinson served as an impetus to the production of the 1998 HBO documentary, SUGAR RAY ROBINSON: THE BRIGHT LIGHTS AND DARK SHADOWS OF A CHAMPION, where he and his mother, Edna Mae, were interviewed for the program. Ray II was also the guiding force for the biography of his father, POUND FOR POUND, which was written by author Herb Boyd with Ray II, and published in 2005 by Harper Collins.
With the passing of legislation by the New York City Council and signed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Ray II’s father received the ultimate acknowledgement with the installation of a commemorative street sign in Harlem, near the block where Sugar Ray’s businesses had been, honoring the champion prize fighter, entrepreneur, entertainer and humanitarian. Herb Boyd, a Black Studies professor at the City College of New York, had done the requisite research, with community activist Jake Morris handling the necessary lobbying and shepherding of the bill through the legislative process, culminating in the signed bill in December of 2009. The commemorative sign at West 124th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem was installed with a ceremonial unveiling attended by WABC-TV and The New York Daily News on what would have been Sugar Ray’s 91st birthday on May 3, 2012. Sugar Ray Robinson had died at 67 on April 12, 1989.
Through his work with Landmark training, the outgrowth of EST, Ray Robinson II is the founder of the Robinson Family project, One World, One Race – HUMAN. “Sugar Ray”(as he is known in Landmark circles) had been involved with EST/ Landmark for over 35 years, and remained a friend of founder, Werner Erhard, and the entire Landmark extended network.
Mr. Robinson also worked with WBLS-FM DJ Frankie Crocker as a Music Librarian at the New York urban radio station in the 1970s.
Mr. Robinson is survived by his loving wife, Michele Dupey; his five children, Ray III (Willow), CoCo (Franco), Deirdre Dryden (Jake), Tal (Rocio), and Zoe (Mason); his five grandchildren, Caprice, Sugar Ray IV, Tokyo, Santiago, and Cleomi; his former wife, Celeste; his sister, Ilma Thomas (Pierre); Gerry Newman and Maryann Caromil, his close friends from Landmark; and many extended family members and friends.
A Memorial Service will take place at Grace Lutheran Church, 836 Avenue C, Bayonne, NJ on August 16, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.