The video begins and the hip hop beats are heard first. Then there’s the vitality of Gary Taylor. She is staring at the camera, dancing, vibrating. The blue hooded man in the dress says: No rich parents. No investors. No handouts. Out of the mud.

“You know where I am, baby, us at home,” she says in her gym, Power House Fitness. “It’s a hustling habit, you have to become a grinding habit … if everything you’re talking about is money – God pulls you out of the conversation the moment you put money into it.”

He continues in a video posted on Facebook on February 2, asking black companies to help each other, asking partners to help organize seminars to teach black entrepreneurs and young people.

“Let’s encourage each other to be better,” he said. “Let’s push each other to be great.”

Taylor, the father of three children, was shot dead after just after 10pm on April 25, near the intersection of 19th and Vine streets. He was 34 years old.

The mourning of the community was immediate. The mayor expressed his condolences, and several friends and family posted Taylor’s Facebook videos back to their pages, again sharing words of inspiration and motivation. The day after he was killed, his girlfriend, Rashouna Harris, changed his Facebook profile photo in his honor.

Harris first met Taylor in 2017 when he taught him when he went to the Swope Parkway gym.

It was a small space. No bells and whistles, just the basics. There were at least 20 people there, and he trained them all – one by one. He moved deftly across the room, he said.

“They were all drenched in sweat. Everyone seemed half dead, at least, ”he said with a laugh.

He felt that he embodied everything that Taylor would come to learn, he said: motivation, hard work, consistency.

In the years following that day they fell in love and had a son together. Harris also became a personal trainer at Taylor’s home gym, Power House.

GT7.jpg
Gary Taylor and his girlfriend, Rashauna Harris Rashouna Harris

Then, as everything in Taylor’s life seemed to align very well, it disappeared.

Two others were injured and Taylor was killed in the hours following the shooting, Kansas City police said they believed a fight or argument broke out inside a nearby establishment; shortly after, they fired shots into the street. It is unclear whether Taylor was involved in the altercation.

Yet police are asking for people’s help in gathering information about a potential suspect and a reason.

“When I say that this city loved Gary, this city loved Gary. They loved it, “Harris said, clapping his hands in relief.” And I hate that he didn’t realize how much he changed people, that he inspired people. “

Returning to the community with fitness

“Sometimes you can be busy, but waste your time. You see, we don’t have a lot of time. We have to work harder, not harder. ”- Taylor, live on Facebook, Feb. 3

Taylor liked to make lists. He put the pen on paper and set goals, set deadlines.

For years, Bouncer recently founded his own security company: Power House Protective Services.

It was just one of many of his dreams.

He and another personal trainer talked about starting another gym together in the city gym. She organized programs to combat childhood obesity and enjoyed working with young athletes.

Taylor dreamed of retiring when she was 40 so she could travel with her mother and family.

But Kansas City was always at home.

“That pushed me,” Harris recalled when he said. “I want to give this to my people.”

He knew there were a lot of other young people, especially young men, who needed inspiration, who were missing someone to push them, Harris said.

Taylor used physical exercise to overcome hereditary health problems, he said, and from the beginning he wanted to help others improve their health.

“We need to take care of ourselves so that we can be here for our children and then that will teach them to take care of themselves,” he says.

Wesley Hamilton, founder of Disabled but Not Really a nonprofit founder, first met Taylor when he took his 9-year-old daughter to a youth camp organized by Taylor at the time to encourage children to practice healthy habits.

“Gary was a pillar in our community. He wanted so much more for those who grew up without much, “Hamilton said.” He was a motivating, protective and humble man who sadly lost his life in such a senseless act. “

Over the past week, Harris has had several friends tell Taylor stories that tell them how training and motivation have improved their lives.

“I couldn’t walk,” one woman said of the intensity of Taylor’s workouts. “But I loved it. They never pushed me like that … but I didn’t give up. “

For him, getting people to cross borders was not just about being successful in the gym, but about pouring into every other aspect of life.

“He always believed, if you want to, you have to go,” Harris said.

GT_fitted (2) .jpeg
Gary Taylor Taylor family

‘The city needs love’

“Love is not something that is truly appreciated. I don’t think God is like that. … I’m not really trying to kill my loved ones. I am trying to love enough to live my loved ones. It hurts to be dead and gone. If I am here it brings joy and happiness. You see, we need to value love. “- Taylor

The community was his inspiration, Taylor’s children were his motivation.

Sundays were reserved for families. They spent evenings at their mother’s house having dinner with their brother.

Most days of the week he would have three children with him in the gym. He would lift his youngest son to reach the pull-up bar, let his older son help the bench weights – four hands wrapped around the bar – while the daughter jumped into one of the female cardio classes.

At home, it was time for some stupidity – dancing, acting out TikTok videos.

Her 6-year-old child would go outside to play soccer, her 12-year-old daughter would curl up on the couch watching TV, and the 18-month-old was a partial interpretation of her father. the book “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” at bedtime.

Taylor always talked about his life plan, Harris said. And his children were the basis.

He once talked about giving his children the opportunity to inherit the Power House legacy. She had already started teaching her daughter about entrepreneurship.

He made T-shirts and helped him sell them himself. He taught her to make a profit, pay expenses, and put in the money she had left to save.

“He really put everything into the kids, and it’s a very beautiful thing,” Harris said.

GT8.jpg
Gary Taylor with his girlfriend, Rashouna Harris, and his children. Taylor family

On Sunday, he was in the most empty gym today. A week earlier, sweaty people were throwing jokes. Music blast. Selfies of Taylor photo bombing.

The walls are bare now, the equipment is gone, and the fake grass is collected in heavy cylinders.

Harris Power House is taking over the business, but he has to go back first while looking for a new space to get his bearings and working to keep Taylor’s projects and dreams alive.

“Although I’m very proud to be gone, he’s only left a good one behind,” he said.

She still doesn’t know why she lost her boyfriend as a result of the senseless violence that is common in Kansas City.

Taylor’s death marked the 48th murder this year in the city of Kansas City, most of which was the result of gun violence. Kansas City ended last year with 182 murders, the most history in the city in a single year, according to data maintained by The Star.

Asked if the city’s crime strategies were working at the time Taylor died, Mayor Quinton Lucas – who also visited the place where Taylor was killed – said “obviously not.” Taylor’s blood was still visible on the pavement next to it.

“Gun violence is literally out of control,” Harris said, before repeating what the pastor said at Taylor’s High School Center the day before. Crowds entered the stands as if it were Friday night football.

“This city needs love.”

That’s what Taylor was all about: teaching people to love themselves so they can take care of others. To end the violence.

GT_fitted (5) .jpeg
In the last photo of Gary Taylor with his young son Taylor family

Legacy of the Power House

“You know me, it’s a good day to have a good day, baby. Do something, be someone phenomenal. You are someone horrible. You are great. You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are brilliant. You are all divine. You’re perfect the way you are. ”- Taylor, live on Facebook, Feb. 3

About 100 people, many of whom wore Power House T-shirts, gathered in front of the old gym, now just an empty room between Chinese and Mexican restaurants.

A line of motorcyclists entered the parking lot and then the crowd gathered. The black leather jackets and vests were labeled Zodiac Motorcycle Club, the oldest African-American motorcycle in Kansas City, located on the 18th and in Vine, just a few feet from where Taylor was killed. A cyclist came down and hugged Harris.

Blue and silver balloons trembled in the wind. The large balloons with Taylor’s initials were taller than the rest.

“Love each other while you’re here,” Brian’s brother Taylor said to people gathered around him like a half-moon.

Harris and Taylor’s son walked around in a shirt that said he was “horrible like a father”. Grandma slowed down for a moment to wrap a balloon around her wrist.

The people fell silent. Together, they fired a hundred balloons upwards. Harris held the phone high, recording the bright light bulbs that fell against the sky. He smiled.

“He never realized how much he inspired, changed and motivated people,” he later said. “And he looked down and saw this; I know he’s smiling at us. ‘

Violence against guns will be the subject of a new statewide journalism project this year. He is working in Missouri this year in Missouri with the National Service for Report program and is partly sponsored by the Missouri Foundation for Health. As part of this project, Izarra will seek community support.

To help, visit Report for America online at reportforamerica.org.

Listen to our daily briefing:

Stories about the Kansas City Star movie

Profile picture of Anna Spoer

Anna Spoer brings together the latest news from the Kansas City Star movie. Prior to joining The Star, he covered the crimes and courts of the Des Moines Register. Spoerre is a graduate of Carbondale University in Southern Illinois, where he studied journalism.

.