The singer from the band has a tragic story that has overshadowed her music career, but her actions likely saved her own life despite their consequences.
Kia "Babydoll" Jeffries, who was the lead singer from the 1990's band 4Kast, was married to pro boxer Ernest Abdul-Mateen for 14 years before she fatally shot him in self defense during a domestic violence incident.
Her band was known for their hit I Tried, and Jeffries herself also made a name for herself singing the hook of rapper Akinyele’s underground 90’s hit, Put It In Your Mouth. But by far her biggest claim to fame was the shooting of her husband.
Jeffries was 37 years old at the time, while her husband was 46. The couple shared a son together, and also a history of abuse from Abdul-Mateen's side.
That night, while the family was staying at the Extended Stay Deluxe hotel near Duluth, Georgia, the pair got into another fight at 4:40 one morning in November 2012.
In a recent interview that Jeffries gave, she detailed blow by blow what happened that night.
“He started just punching, punching, punching me in my face, grabbing me by my hair, just throwing me. I’m screaming for my son. My son has to come and get his father off of me and as he’s grabbing me trying to hold on to me, I notice something else that’s…’Oh there’s a gun?!!’So I kept pushing it, pushing it away, trying to still [make] him let me go. […] Then one of the times I pushed it [the gun], I felt the trigger and his hand wasn’t on it and I pulled it, hoping that it would just shoot and people would come.”
Even though she had shot him, it wasn't enough to put him straight down, and it only made him angrier. He grabbed the gun from her, and began pistol whipping her about her head until she started to fade into unconsciousness.
“I felt the sleep of death coming with certain blows to my head,” she said of how those moments felt to her.
When the police showed up to the hotel a short while later, they found Abdul-Mateen critically wounded, but still alive, and a badly beaten Jeffries.
They were able to determine from Jeffries that her husband had been beating her, and Abdul-Mateen was able to confirm that they had gotten into a physical altercation before he later died in hospital.
It was also discovered that at the time of his death, there had been arrest warrants out for him for previous domestic assault charges against his wife.
When she learned that he had died, Jeffries was angry at him for causing a fight that had ultimately led to his death, but also extreme grief for her son who would have to grow up without his father.
Today, she is trying to rebuild her music career, mostly to give herself a platform on which to speak out about domestic abuse, and give other women hope to get out of their situations.