On Monday, November 3rd 2014, The Angel of Death again has made us aware of its ever present mission, and another Son of Phi Nu Pi is called from labor to eternal rest. On Monday, November 3rd 2014, The New York Alumni Chapter and ALL of Kappa Alpha Psi lost one of the most beautiful souls that ever existed on this earth. Everyone’s “Favorite Brother” ended his fight with pancreatic cancer. As every Kappa Man knows, Brother Hicks, or John as we all would call him, was a True Brother in every sense of the word. He was always ready to assist you in any noble idea that you wanted to espouse. He was a person of even temperament that could make anyone smile within mere minutes of being in his presence. His love for Kappa and its Brothers cam second only to that of the love of his family and his love for Journalism. He had traveled all over the world to meet and fellowship with Brothers. Let it be within the continental United States or abroad in the Far East, he would meet, greet and give a warm hug and share a story or two about Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated.
Brother Hicks was an award-winning writer and journalist with more than 30 years of experience covering politics, business, industry and the role of people of color in the world of business. Brother Hicks was a senior national correspondent with BET.com as well as a columnist with The New York Amsterdam News, the oldest and largest black newspaper in New York City.
Brother Hicks was a recipient of The New York Times’ Publishers Award and had also received the public service writing award from the New York Association of Black Journalists. In addition, he had received awards for excellence in journalism from the New York Chapter of the National Black MBA Association and from the Arizona Press Association.
He was most recently the editor of The Kappa Alpha Psi Journal, the official publication of that national fraternity. It is a position he held earlier, from 1985 to 1989. Along with Anthony Patrick, he is also the voice on the CD, Kappa Klassics, a compilation of a number of songs of Kappa Alpha Psi.
Brother Hicks was also the director of MANIFEST, an all-male ensemble that sings contemporary, Christian music. The group’s first recording was released in August 2011.
He has been involved in a number of philanthropic issues. He served for four years as chairman of the Kappa Alpha Psi New York Foundation, a role in which he helped raise $250,000 for scholarships for college-bound students in New York City.
The J.P. Hicks Family Mass Communication Scholarship was established in 2010 to provide support for students at the University of Liberia who are interested in mass communication, either in print, broadcast or online publications. Scholarship awards are based on a combination of academic achievement, exceptional talent within the discipline and a commitment to enhance the quality of journalism in Liberia. The scholarship award covers the cost of tuition and fees for a period of up to four semesters at the University of Liberia. It also provides for online, one-on-one mentorship with professional journalists as well an allowance for Internet usage. Students entering their junior and senior years at the university are eligible to apply for the award.
With his passing, a void has been created that I fear will never be filled. The Brothers of The New York Alumni Chapter, spearheaded by Past Polemarch Leroy Barr, Jr., were tasked with the melancholy honor and privilege of orchestrating possibly one of the largest Kappa Funeral Services in Kappa Alpha Psi’s history. It was our task to create the form and manner in which the world that loved him would grieve. It took countless calls between Brothers that were willing to anything that they humanly could to make Brother Hicks’ wife and Daughter comfortable during that time of solace. The spirit of Brotherhood enveloped all of us and we strengthened each other while we carried out the task of sending one of Kappa’s Favorite Sons, to that far off Golden Shore. As the world came to pay their respects, Brothers from every chapter, offered assistance and did their best to be as much of a help as possible. In retrospect, he is dearly missed. The phone calls, the anecdotes that he would share, the melodious voice that serenaded the world is now silent. However, the shining and undeniable example of Brotherhood that he had been to all of us will be something that we as Kappa Men, can carry with us our whole lives long. Or better still, let us use that love that Brother Hicks showed us to be better Brothers to each other.