Lee Quinones Pays Tribute to Drag Racer Big Willie Robinson
Drag racing legend Willie Andrew Robinson, widely known as “Big Willie,” died on Saturday in California. Robinson was the founder of the International Brotherhood of Street Racers. The club was formed after the Watts Riots in 1965 in an effort to promote positivity in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police Department approached Big Willie to form the organization with the intent to bring peace to the community. Robinson was a drag racing advocate who succeeded in opening Brotherhood Raceway Park on Terminal Island in the Los Angeles Harbor in 1976. The track was eventually closed in 1995, but Robinson continued to advocate for the power of drag racing to alleviate racial tensions. His popular slogan, “Run what you brung,” is infamous in the drag racing circuit. Robinson took his concept to other cities to alleviate tensions, and met with Pres. Bill Clinton to explain his concept. He was 70 years old.
Artist Lee Quinones befriended Big Willie and submitted this tribute:
Heard the News today, oh boy, about a lucky Man that made the grade…
Lucky was Willie that he was and will always be a man of not one color, but wore a multiple of colors for the human race.
A lucky Man that was Man enough during those turbulent tumultuous times to yell out, “Power within the people! clear the smoke screen and let the tires do the screaming”… Clear your heads and line ‘em up heads up in a sudden place where every thing and every one is equal…. The line. The line of life where we all start in a leap of faith to rid the hate being spoon fed on a slate…. The line, where you can’t hear your self think, but your engines on the brink because you brung what you bring hoping that it’s enough from the Connecting Highway to Van Nuys with the Woodward stuff….. Whether it’s round and round, figure eight or going straight, we all sense that finish line some where on the horizon reminding us that maybe we can land in another place and time of alignment.