Near-death experiences have long captivated our attention, prompting us to consider the meaning of life and our place in the world. From mountaineers surviving falls from cliffs to welders caught in machines, there are countless stories of individuals defying the odds and living to tell the tale.
One such individual is LaPonne Burton, who had not just one but two near-death experiences. The first one occurred when he was only 15 years old and traveling on the 38 Geary Street bus, where he was shot and left with shards of glass in his chest and face. The second one happened years later when he was hustling crack on a street corner and was held at gunpoint by a dope addict. His friend, Jay Stone, saved his life by knocking out the dope fiend with one punch.
These experiences left LaPonne shaken and paranoid, with a newfound appreciation for the fragility of life. It prompted him to reflect on what he would do with his life if he had another chance, a common theme in near-death narratives.
However, LaPonne’s life wasn’t drastically different before his two near-death experiences, as he had been exposed to drugs and violence from a young age. In fact, he spent his childhood having somewhat similar experiences. He ran away from his mother’s apartment and lived on the streets, eventually joining the Fulton St. Mob, also known as the Young Black Gangstas, which was one of the most notorious violent mobs in San Francisco.
Nevertheless, these two near-death experiences he had in life left him shaken and paranoid and changed him a lot as a person. They prompted him to reflect on what he would do with his life if he had another chance and ultimately led him to embrace a new path.
He decided to turn his life around by focusing on graduating from high school, which was a significant accomplishment since his mother never graduated. LaPonne worked hard to make up for the credits he had missed and graduate from high school on time. He attended a step-to-college program introduction to “Black Studies,” which further allowed him to reflect on his life and the value of his culture. He realized that his people had value and that they were not savages but the true originators of civilization.
Even though he left drugs and changed his life, his past never left his side, as he still found his life in danger and was feeling paranoid and fearing for his life in his own city, San Francisco. Fortunately, around the time he received a revelation, he heard a voice from Yahweh say the word “Atlanta.” A few days later, his friend Ms. Regina Davenport, whom he called his ghetto angel, informed him that she was moving to Atlanta. She encouraged LaPonne to keep in touch and eventually move to Atlanta to better his life.
In 1994, LaPonne moved to Atlanta to reinvent himself and escape the Bay Area life, and the new city transformed his life for the better. He founded Foundation Unit Ent. Services LLC, a company that co-produced, performed, managed talent, and developed business opportunities for a rap group named Foundation. Although the group only lasted for three years, LaPonne volunteered and consulted behind the scenes on various celebrity projects. Regina Davenport, who worked for LaFace Records, Stankonia, and Purple Ribbon Entertainment, would ask for LaPonne’s feedback and evaluation.
LaPonne collaborated with Aaron Reppert, a technical sound designer, multimedia director, and founder of Travsonic Studios. While serving as the CEO of F.U.E.N.T.S., Aaron Reppert was mentored by Calvin Roberts, the D.I.T. (Digital Imaging Technician/Vision Engineer) on the iconic franchise, Star Wars: Return of the Sith and Attack of the Clones.
LaPonne’s achievements are nothing short of remarkable, as he has also excelled in other fields. He has composed music for numerous television shows and commercials. He has also graced the small screen as a co-star in several television programs and served as a host for a variety of live concerts, events, and seminars. One of his most noteworthy achievements was organizing the Toronto International Music Summit in 2012, and his current role as an entertainment executive has seen him produce groundbreaking projects such as Troublesome: The Untold Story,” “Overcoming the Storms,” and “Bayville Cartoon Animation.”
Certainly, near-death experiences have the power to transform a person’s life, as was the case for LaPonne. However, it’s important to note that his remarkable accomplishments and successes are also a result of his own hard work, determination, and dedication. Despite his challenging upbringing and brushes with violence, LaPonne refused to be defined by his circumstances and instead chose to create a new path for himself. And now, through his music, television appearances, and entertainment projects, he has become an inspiration to many. His story serves as a testament to the power of resilience, even in the face of adversity.