‘He was the best kid you could ever ask for.’ Mother of USM student who drowned remembers son

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 7:22 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The mother of a University of Southern Mississippi student who drowned over the weekend is remembering her son after his tragic death.

Crystal Frazier is the mother of Robert Brent, the 20-year-old who drowned at a Dauphin Island beach Sunday night. His body was found Wednesday.

“He was the best kid you could ever ask for. He was extremely protective of me and those that he loved,” Frazier said.

She said her son was visiting the beach with fellow members of the Vietnamese Student Association at Southern Miss.

“He was looking forward to this trip,” Frazier said. “My son was a part of the Vietnamese Student Association, which is the joke. I asked him, I said, ‘Robert, you know you’re Black? Why would you be on the Vietnamese Student Association?’ He said, ‘Oh, they’re cool people, I like them.’”

Frazier said he was even on the governing board for the association, and they had planned the trip as a reward for working so hard this past school year.

“He loved the water, so immediately when he got there, he got in the water,” she said. “[He] went out a little bit too far and the undertow swept him away.”

Frazier said she’s grateful to the Coast Guard and Dauphin Island Fire and Rescue and the sheriff’s department.

“They have been some of the best people I’ve ever met,” Frazier said. “They worked tirelessly to rescue and bring my son home. They even checked on me after they found him. I just spoke to the sheriff yesterday, he was calling to see how I was doing.”

Frazier said her son was compassionate, protective, quiet and laid-back. He did not like to be the center of attention.

“If he knew how much attention this had garnered, he’d be livid,” she said. “He would absolutely hate it, because he was very quiet and much more of a background player.”

Despite staying out of the spotlight, she said he was a very active student on campus.

“Robert was a Lucky Day scholar, a part of the Honors College, an SGA senator, an Honors College mentor, a USM ambassador,” Frazier said. “Robert had a 3.5-3.6 GPA. He was not average by any means. Robert always excelled at everything that he did. He loved what he did, and if he was passionate about anything, he pursued it with everything.”

Frazier said he was most passionate about music after he discovering it in high school. It is the reason he majored in music production at USM.

“One year, he went out with his Christmas money and bought his first Beats set,” Frazier said. “I joked with him that he was going to be the next Timberland or the next Swiss Beats. My son could’ve been anything, could’ve been a doctor or a lawyer but, he wanted to produce music.”

She said they are suffering a great loss, but they trust that he is in a better place.

“We’re people of great faith,” Frazier said. “I have faith to know Robert is with the Lord. Robert had a personal relationship with Christ. He was very devoted in his faith. I am at peace to know that.”

The family has also started a scholarship fund in his name. Frazier said they have already raised $3,000. They will divide it up between three Yazoo County students heading USM in the fall.

Brent will have a memorial service in Jackson on May 21 at the Glory Empowerment Temple for students and teachers who would like to pay their respects.

“Not just for the kids from southern, but the kids from Yazoo County where he went to high school at, where he was 3rd in his class,” Frazier said. “And the kids from Tougaloo where he spent a lot of his summers at in the SLAM Program.”

The theme will be “Jeans and Jordans,” because according to his mom, Robert was a sneakerhead.

His official homegoing service will be Saturday, May 22, at New Horizon Church in Jackson.

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