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producer, Tracy Stokes, dies from kidney failure at the age of 37
Ed Wiley III
BET.com (November 9, 2009) The journalism world and Black Entertainment
Television lost a true professional and friend Sunday afternoon when
BET.com news producer Tracy Stokes succumbed to complications from
kidney failure. He was 37 years old.
According to his mother, Lilly Stokes, a retired teacher living in North
Carolina, Tracy died at 4:07 p.m. Sunday at Wake Med Hospital in
Raleigh. He had pneumonia in both lungs, she said.
Despite his long bout with kidney problems, which meant steady visits to
doctors and other specialists, Tracy enjoyed working, and he never used
his illness as an excuse for giving less than his best.
“I don’t think most people know just how giving Tracy was,” said Mrs.
Stokes. “He really believed in helping people, and he wanted to see
folks loving one another. He couldn’t deal with people disrespecting
each other. He liked people to be straightforward.”
For those who never had the pleasure of working with Tracy, you were
likely connected to him in ways you didn’t even know. If you visited
BET.com over much of the past half-decade and clicked on such popular
BET.com segments as the “Bring That Week Back” photo flipbook, the
annual “Those We Lost” obituary compilation or the “World Lens” section,
which highlights photos of people of color making news throughout the
world, you were indeed connected to Tracy. He worked meticulously on
these projects, among many others, and went about his duties as a news
gatherer and producer with passion and pride.
It was only fitting that many of his activities and assignments at
BET.com revolved around photography. Tracy was an avid and accomplished
photojournalist, who established a successful photography business,
Fotos By Tracy, which he ran with V. Scott Hamilton and Rodney Turner.
Tracy landed at BET.com just shortly after Hurricane Katrina had ravaged
the Gulf Coast. I was BET.com’s managing editor at the time and heard
about Tracy from Retha Hill, then the vice president of content.
Tracy was born in Clinton, N.C., but spent many of the past several
years in Waldorf, Md. A graduate of Clinton High, he attended Hampton
University, eventually transferring to Norfolk State University, where
he graduated cum laude. He was a member of the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor
Society and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
“Tracy was a good friend and trusted colleague,” said Tanu Henry, senior
manager of BET.com News. “He brought energy and attitude, an
appreciation for detail, thoroughness, organization and passion to
everything he did in his life and at work. His contributions will be
missed sorely, even as we fondly keep him in our memories.”
“Tracy Stokes has had a great impact on BET.com,” said Diana Clark-Baty,
Senior Vice President of BET Digital. “I, like many of you, will
personally miss the interactions with Tracy. I am enriched having known
In addition to his mother, Tracy is survived by his father, William
Stokes Sr., a retired principal.