Celebs we lost in 2021

A huge number of famous faces have passed away this year

Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas (died August 7th, aged 70)

Celebs we lost in 2021 1
Credit: Kool & The Gang / Instagram

Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, a co-founder of the bank Kool & the Gang, died peacefully in his sleep in New Jersey at age 70. He had just performed with his band at their Los Angeles show at the Hollywood Bowl, which kicked off its 2021 season on July 4th.

An original member of the soul-funk group, Thomas played alto saxophone, flute, percussion and served as the MC during the band’s concerts. He was known as the quintessential cool cat in the group, who was adored for his laid-back demeanor and his hip clothes and hats. Thomas was credited for coming up with the intro to their 1971 hit, Who’s Gonna Take the Weight.

Interesting facts about BTS
  • The group name, “BTS” stands for the Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan which translates to “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”. Band member J-Hope said that they chose this name because it represents BTS’s desire “to block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that aim on adolescents like bullets.” But that isn’t the only meaning behind the name. In 2017, BTS said, as part of their new brand identity, that their name would also stand for Beyond the Scene” which extended their name to mean “growing youth BTS who is going beyond the realities they are facing, and going forward.”
  • BTS was originally intended to be a hip-hop group, similar to YG Entertainment’s 1TYM. This was because Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si-hyuk met with RM and was very impressed by his rapping talents. However, Bang Si-hyuk changed his mind and decided that today’s youth needed “a hero who can lend them a shoulder to lean on, even without speaking a single word.”
  • BTS has said that all of the following musicians have inspired their music; Post Malone, Eminem, Seo Taiji and Boys, Nas, Kanye West, Drake, Charlie Puth, Danger, and Queen.
  • The band’s first English-language single, “Dynamite”, was released on August 21st. Its video broke the YouTube record for the most viewed music video premiere, grabbing the attention of three million viewers, and it set a new record for the most viewed video on the first day of release. “Dynamite” is also the first music video on YouTube to surpass 100 million views in less than one day.
  • BTS has been often labeled as “easily the biggest and most successful name in K-pop in the world” that can “do things no other name in their genre can.” Time magazine has gone as far as calling them the “Princes of Pop.”