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‘Till This Day I’m Still In Therapy’: Rickey Smiley Looks Back on His Family’s Connection to Gun Violence

Gun violence has taken a huge toll on the family of comedian Rickey Smiley, who recently discussed his personal experience during a recent interview. The 54-year-old known for making others laugh appeared on the ‘Club Shay Shay” podcast in a pre-taped episode to discuss his accomplishments, and grief, and explain exactly how his family has been affected.

Nearly an hour into the conversation, Smiley opened up about being seven years old when his father was gunned down and how “It’s probably one of the only things that make me cry till this day as a 54-year-old man,” he told host Shannon Sharpe, noting that he’s still emotionally torn up over his grandparents mourning their son.

Rickey Smiley (Screenshot: Club Shay Shay Podcast/YouTube.)

After sharing the lessons he learned from his grandfather, the “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” star spoke about the night he was shot in 1995 during an attempted robbery of someone else nearby.

“My friend Johnny and I was at the pay phone, and he was like ‘give it up.’ I was like, ‘I don’t have nothing,’ he said as pantomimed holding a gun and firing. ” ’Boom,’ ” he continued. “Son said ‘give it up.’ They shot me to let him know that they were serious.”

The “Def Comedy Jam” star explained to Sharpe that he was traumatized after being shot with a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun. He said the man who shot him was sentenced to 25 years and killed two months after his release from prison. He said he was re-traumatized after driving past the man’s funeral procession.

“That was more morbid than the night he shot me, Shannon. That scared me more than anything,” Smiley shared. “The guy that shot you … almost took your life, is laying here in this hearse passing by. That gave me chills. I didn’t sleep for two months.”

The “First Sunday” actor also opened up about the shocking moment when he found out his daughter Aaryn was shot over July 4th weekend in 2020. “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show” host revealed that he was live on the air on Monday, July 6, when he got the news from her mother, Tomeka.

“My daughter’s mom hit me on the cell phone, ‘Hey, call me, emergency,’ ” said the “Friday After Next” actor, before sharing that he continued on with the show’s announcements. “I was like okay. The next text message said Aaryn was shot and … so I just hit. I just hit the phone.”

Smiley ended up making the announcement about his daughter’s shooting while on air. According to ABC13, Aaryn was caught in a crossfire and shot three times while driving to Whataburger in south Houston with her boyfriend. She was 19 at the time.

Smiley said that he had difficulty finding flights leaving from his residence in Birmingham, Alabama, due to COVID-19. He ended up taking a flight to DFW airport in Dallas and drove to another airport to catch a flight to Houston. However, the “Baggage Claim” star was unable to enter the hospital because of the pandemic restrictions.

“So that was trauma. It brought back all of my trauma, and till this day I’m still in therapy because it brought back up all my old trauma from me getting shot in ’95,” Smiley said.

The radio personality returned on air a week-and-a-half after the Baylor University student returned home to dozens of flowers from family pastors, the police chief and other supporters. He recalls the shooting triggering his mind, which impaired him from being able to complete his next appearance on “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show.”

“I’ll never forget I was talking over the intro, 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’ song,” he said, before explaining that he had a hallucination. He motioned his hands to imitate a person behind him that whispered in his ear, ” ‘Your daughter’s been shot,’ and I lost it.”

“They had to walk me to my car. I couldn’t even do the rest of the show,” he told Sharpe before getting choked up. Smiley later admitted to Sharpe, “I didn’t grieve properly.”

This episode with Rickey Smiley was recorded in January, prior to the unexpected passing of his son Brandon Smiley, who was found unresponsive in his home on Jan. 29. The 32-year-old was laid to rest days later on Feb. 4, which Rickey said has triggered PTSD and forced him to seek counseling again.

However, in true comedic fashion, Smiley has also been using social media to share hilarious memes and dozens of family photos of his children on social media.

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