Lateef Amoo, an AKL brother and senior journalism major, passed away last week.
A senior journalism major, Alpha Kappa Lambda brother and former staff writer for The Temple News passed away last week.
Twenty-three-year-old Lateef Amoo, who was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at an early age, died due to complications from a bone marrow transplant, with an infection that eventually spread throughout his body, his brother Rasheed Amoo, 25, said.
“He was a very caring person – very direct to you,” Rasheed said. “He knew where he stood. And he was more than helpful to everyone he loved.”
“I have always said he’s the strongest person I’ve ever met and probably ever will meet,” said Emily Everett, a senior education major and Lateef’s girlfriend. “Once you’re his friend, you are his friend for life.”
Among words such as “loyal,” “kind” and “passionate” used to describe Lateef, friends and family said he was known as “creative” in all aspects of his life.
“He loved music,” Rasheed said. “It was like breathing to him.”
Everett said Lateef’s iPod, which eclectically included everything from Hall & Oates to Fall Out Boy, shows how open he was to all genres.
“His ultimate goal was to be an editor for Rolling Stone,” Everett said, adding that Lateef truly loved hip-hop and rap, and his favorite artist of all time was Lupe Fiasco. “He liked a little bit of everything.”
Both Everett and Rasheed said one of Lateef’s most apparent creative outlets was his style.
“He would be as serious as what outfit he was wearing as what I would be,” Everett said with a laugh, adding that his fashion sense really started to develop in high school, wearing baggy jeans and “Usher shirts,” as Lateef called them. “Cardigans were his thing.”
“We always used to shop at H&M together, and he was very particular about what he was wearing,” Everett added. “Not every guy is like that. We would end up going to Greek events wearing the same thing, and I would be wearing the girl version of what he was wearing.”
Steve Garfunkel, a junior sports and recreation management major and AKL brother, said he considered Lateef his best friend since pledging the fraternity in Spring 2009.
“He was this black guy with great style, and I’m this white guy with no fashion sense,” Garfunkel said with a laugh. “We could have been considered complete opposites, but we really embraced it, and it made our friendship what it was.”
Garfunkel said that as AKL’s public relations chair, Greek Week chair and resident DJ, Lateef brought “a lot of life and a positive attitude” to the fraternity.
“He was a great person to go to for advice,” Garfunkel said. “He was always able to crack a joke, always brought that energy and passion.”
Rasheed said he and Lateef were raised in Staten Island, N.Y., and moved to Upper Darby, Pa., in 1999, where they have lived ever since.
Lateef transferred in Fall 2007 from Penn State University to study journalism at Temple, where his late father was also an alumnus.
“He loved that school,” Rasheed said of Temple. “Our dad was also a writer, and for us, poetry and writing was something we always took part in. He would always send me a link [to his work] when he got an article published. That was always what he wanted for his career, to be a journalist.”
Randi Glatzer, one of Lateef’s magazine writing professors, said she felt a “very strong urge to get to know him one-on-one” after witnessing his talent for writing in class.
Glatzer described Lateef’s style as a “little bit of hip-hop street style mixed with a little bit of intellectual college kid.”
“Lateef was incredibly quiet in class,” Glatzer said. “But every once in a while, he would get very passionate about something enough to speak up in class.”
“I remember once when we talked about the issue of race relations, he would get really hot on that,” Glatzer added. “He was a very waters-run-deep kind of person.”
Glatzer said she was particularly impressed with an essay Lateef wrote in class he called the “22-year-old Sick Kid,” a story about his emotional struggles with sickle cell anemia that Glatzer said he approached with “tranquility and humor.”
“He’d be wearing those dark blue skinny jeans, a lot of black and something bright to pop, sometimes yellow or purple,” Glatzer said.
“Nothing stopped him from coming on time to class, dressing well and working hard.”
A memorial service was held on April 6 to celebrate Lateef’s life.
Lateef is survived by Rasheed and his mother, Olabisi Amoo.
Maria Zankey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.