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Alabama Teen Commits Suicide After Anti-Gay Bullying

Nigel Shelby, a 15-year-old Alabama student, took his life Friday (April 19) after suffering anti-gay bullying on his Huntsville High School campus.

“We were saddened to learn this morning of the death of Nigel Shelby, one of our 9th grade students,” Aaron King, the principal of Shelby’s school, said in a statement Saturday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”

Local LGBT organization Rocket City Pride took time to acknowledge Shelby and discuss the affects of bullying during its Easter Drag Brunch Sunday.

“I remember being called terrible words even when I was in elementary school before I knew what they meant,” Celia Malone said. “These bullies have to be held accountable, and until our state legislation shows that they have to do that, they’re able to run a muck and do whatever they want.”

A GoFundMe account was set up to help Shelby’s mother with funeral expenses, already exceeding its $10,000 goal by $5,000 as of Monday morning. A candlelight vigil was also held in the Huntsville area for the teen Sunday night.

Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.