In Remembrance of Jahlen Vaughn


Joel Rivera

Photo taken at The Boo Ball for Ronald McDonald House

Our Westside Community is mourning the loss of one of our own.  Former student Jehlan Vaughn tragically lost his life as a victim of gun violence on Monday, March 21, 2016.  The  details of what happened are not available, but what is known in that Jehlan was home alone, when he was shot and killed.

Jehlan has been a presence at Westside, really since he was in middle school.  He was a standout dancer in West Briar’s Fusion Dance Company, so it was only natural that he would join Inertia, making the team on his first attempt.  He was also a well known presence in the Houston dance community.  Working with So Real, Planet Funk, HAD, he made a name for himself as a choreographer and brilliant performer.  When the national stage came calling, Jehlan was ready, working with Shane Sparks, and other notable choreographers in Los Angeles.

Jehlan was preparing to make a move to Oklahoma at the time of his death.


On a personal note; Jehlan was my student.  He was an Inertian, that I met when he was in the 7th grade.  We are all devastated.  On behalf of Jehlan’s Inertia family, I’d like to express condolences to his family, and especially his Mom.  You are in our thoughts and prayers.

I am adding an exert from a facebook post I submitted yesterday.

Watching Jehlan dance, I realized that he was one of these rare, gifted people who was a dancer.  People say “I’m a dancer” all the time.  But with Jehlan, it was true.  For him, dancing was like breathing air.  It was who he was, what he was, how he was, and why he was.  It didn’t matter if he was in front of 1000 people or if he was in the hallway, with his headphones on, he danced the same way.  Full out, full on, full stop!  Always and always.  Always.  I can remember sitting at my desk in the dance room, watching him during lunch.  The room would be full of guys breakin’, tryin’ to rep and impress.  And Jehlan would be in front of the mirror, usually in the front of the room, over by the right side door.  He would usually have his earbuds in, connected to that cracked screen phone of his.  And he would just be dancing.  Just going and going.  Now here’s what my professional eye will tell you.  He didn’t repeat stuff.  He didn’t do the same thing over and over. He was constantly making new moves, and designs, and cuts, and pops, and tuts.  I couldn’t hear the music with my ears, but I could hear it with my eyes. 

You didn’t just see Jehlan dance…you felt it. You felt it and you remembered it.


Comments to this story are open and welcome.  Please send us your thoughts for Jehlan.   Thank you.

Also if you have photos, please send them to [email protected]

If you can, please include: who took the pic, who is in the pic, where & when

To help Jehlan’s family: