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Sometimes, television doesn’t need to be anything but a light-hearted and amusing exit from daily normalcy, and if there’s someone whose small screen presence was used almost entirely to make people laugh, it would be musician and MTV star Christopher “Big Black” Boykin, most famously known for MTV’s hijinks-filled reality show Rob & Big with co-star Rob Dyrdek. Sadly, audiences won’t get to laugh along with him anymore, as Big Black passed away at the page of 45.
On the morning of Tuesday, May 9, Christopher Boykin passed away, and while some initial reports weren’t clear on a cause of death, TMZ claims it was due to a heart attack. He is survived by his nine year old daughter, Isis Rae Boykin.
Born in Raleigh, Mississippi on January 13, 1972, Christopher Boykin served in the U.S. Navy in the year prior to hitting the ranks at MTV. His big break came when he was hired by the fun-loving pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek to be his bodyguard for a skit sponsored by DC Shoes, which later led to cable stardom with Rob & Big, in which Dyrdek and Big Black (and the bulldog Meaty) shared an apartment together and did things normal roommates don’t get to do, such as doing mo-cap for video games and breaking world records for eating bananas. (And hang with a mini horse.) In one episode, Big Black came out with the info that he used to be a male stripper named Black Lavender, which made for a memorable time.
Rob & Big lasted for three seasons before the show came to an end, with Rob Dyrdek revealing years later that the cramped lifestyle put a strain on the duo’s friendship, as well as their respective mental states. The two later reteamed for Dyrdek’s follow-up series Fantasy Factory, which Big Black appeared in occasionally. Years later, Dyrdek shared in an interview the two friends were affected in two completely different ways by the fame that MTV brought, and that they would come to blows over creative ideas, while still filming hilarious scenes as if nothing was wrong. As you can imagine, Dyrdek was taken aback by the shocking news, sharing this on Instagram.
Not that Rob Dyrdek was the only person on social media to give Big Black some big love, but his post said it all, really. Big Black popped up elsewhere on MTV, too, such as on the shows Ridiculousness and Snack Off, which Dyrdek conceived and produced. So it makes a bit of sense that MTV also released a statement reacting to the entertainer’s passing. (Something that happens with regularity, it seems.)
MTV is deeply saddened to learn the news of Christopher ‘Big Black’ Boykin’s passing. He was a long time and beloved member of the MTV family and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this time.
We at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Christopher “Big Black” Boykin in their time of mourning.