It doesn’t take much to get Renatta Crawford-Malone amped up, let alone to strike up a conversation about her son, Javorian Miller.
“I will always be there for him,” Crawford-Malone told MemphiSport on Tuesday during its annual Salute To The 2015 Graduates. “And I will always be in his corner. Against all odds, we have been blessed.”
As Miller, a marching band standout for Memphis Fairley High School, prepares to earn his much-anticipated diploma when the school holds its commencement exercises May 27, Crawford-Malone deemed it necessary to assess the close knit bond she has established with her son throughout the years, a trend that, to his credit, has benefited him mightily, particularly as a rising musician.
For starters, Miller — who showed flashes of emerging into an accomplished musician when he was seen time and again beating on pots and pans as a child — had become a fixture in a Fairley marching band that has become one of the Mid-South’s finest in recent years.
Add to the fact that the 18-year-old Miller has generated interests from an array of colleges as a thriving percussionist, and it’s no wonder why this vibrant, gifted kid is well on his way to fulfilling his dream of suiting up for a college march band this fall.
Next up for Miller: A spot in Talladega College’s historic marching band.
A rural campus that is comprised of roughly 50 acres, Talladega is located in an historic district of the city of Talladega, Alabama, a school that is on a plateau about 700 feet above sea level in the heart of a fertile valley in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Talladega, in fact, is a mostly quiet establishment, a mostly peaceful setting that is far away from the distractions and fast pace of urban living, something about Crawford-Malone knows full well her son needs, especially considering he has spent the past 18 years in the hustle and bustle that Memphis often creates.
Regardless, in spite of growing up in a poverty-stricken city in which senseless crimes have been virtually a customary trend, Crawford-Miller would be the first to tell you that she had gone to great lengths to help steer her son in the right direction.
In other words, she had sensed all along that Miller has what it takes to steadfastly see from beyond where he resides, thus maximize his potential in the process.
“He has been raised right,” Crawford-Malone said. “I put the fear of God in him and there is nothing on earth that can stop him.”
Miller, who recently completed his four year as a member of Fairley’s marching band, relishes the fact his mother has been his go-to person from the very outset, or ever since his days of pounding on her pots and pans.
“My mom and I relationship is like a strong bond,” Miller said. “My mom has been very supportive to me. She always keeps my head right. As a child, I use to beat on my mom pots and pans. She didn’t like it because we use them to eat. But I use to think that the sound of the pots and pans sounded like real drums.”
Today, it because of his mother gave him a free pass of banging on her eating utensils that Miller has been afforded the golden opportunity to put his music-related skills on a much larger stage — as part of a college march band.
One minute, this kid, who boasts and array of talent as a musician, is sitting home watching the motion picture, “Drumline,” a 2002 fictional story about a historically black college and university marching band that was written by Tina Gordon Chism and Shawn Schepps.
The next minute, he’s being offered a scholarship to put his skills on display just like the cast in that popular drama flick — thanks, in large part to the continuous love and support of his mother.
“I thank my mom for getting me into college and staying by my side and never letting me down, because that’s what I always wanted,” Miller said. “I will always try to keep my mom happy and proud of me by making better decisions and choices in my life. And, I will always keep my head focused toward being a success.”
Which, after all, is why it doesn’t take much to get his mom amped up about her son.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you would like to salute a Class of 2015 graduate with a unique celebratory tribute that will be designed like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.