The three children of the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard — or the “three masterminds,” as 27-year-old Shaquita Jones puts it — are fierce in their protection of their father’s legacy. Shaquita and her older sister, Taniqua, 31, co-direct the estate of Russell Jones, otherwise known as Ol’ Dirty Bastard of the Wu-Tang Clan. Their 30-year-old brother, Barsun, doesn’t manage the estate, but carries his father’s energy with him every day.
“I swear to y’all … I feel like my father’s spirit left him, his body in the casket, and went into my brother,” Taniqua says. Barsun’s sisters once saw him as shy and soft-spoken. Today, he’s an entrepreneur and rapper with the stage name “Young Dirty Bastard,” who confidently asserts that his money and personality are his own — not his father’s. “We got the same looks, but our brain is different. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink,” Barsun says, though he did adopt his dad’s name and hairstyle. “I learned from his mistakes more than anything.”
ODB’s children say their father is misunderstood, and that behind the character, Jones was a devoted family man. “He just played with us all the time — he was like a big kid,” Taniqua says, “Everybody sees this crazy, crazy person that did drugs. But nobody really sees who he was.”
While Shaquita focuses on being a mom and working toward her MBA at Devry, Taniqua and Barsun are starring in reality series Growing Up Hip Hop: New York. The three of them were barely teenagers when ODB passed in 2004, and while the public debate surrounding his accidental overdose increased, Taniqua was onstage with Method Man feeling the love of Wu-Tang fans.
“He’s so relevant today,” she says. “I feel like when people die, or pass away, you don’t really see much of them. I see him all the time.”