• Docquen Jovo Watkins (l), Rory Teasley (r). Watkins has been charged with Teasley's murder. Photo: Facebook.

‘He Was a Gentle Giant’: Friends Remember Michigan-Based Viral TikTok Star Rory Teasley

Social media influencer allegedly murdered by longtime boyfriend

By |2022-01-20T16:44:04-05:00January 20th, 2022|Michigan, News|

TikTok influencer Rory Teasley was planning to spend the upcoming weekend in Dallas. His flights and an Airbnb were already booked — a much-anticipated trip to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. But the only celebrations happening now are in Teasley’s memory after he was allegedly strangled to death Jan. 6 by his longtime boyfriend, Docquen Jovo Watkins, 31, in a dispute over the video game “Overwatch.” 

A candlelight vigil and balloon release took place Saturday, Jan. 15, outside the Pontiac apartment where the killing took place. Teasley’s viewing is scheduled for today with his funeral to follow on Friday. Friends remember Teasley, 28, as fun and good-natured, the life of the party. 

“If you live in Pontiac, Rory Teasley’s house was definitely one of the drive-through spots, literally,” said Teasley’s friend Dawan Glover in a Facebook post. “He was serving egg rolls fresh out of his window.” 

Kehondre Leak, whose friendship with Teasley dates back to their days in high school, agreed.

“The eggrolls were everything,” he told Pride Source. “[They were] the best eggrolls in Michigan, hands down. If anybody says otherwise, they are lying. He made them from scratch and also made his sauce from scratch. He didn’t tell nobody the secret to his eggrolls, but he let me watch him make them, so I kinda know the secret.”

On TikTok, as 2Pump4Tv, Teasley was also famous for rolls, but not of the egg variety.  More like hip rolls. He has some 260,000 followers, including an increase of over 40,000 since his passing and more than 2.8 million likes. He referred to himself on the social media platform as “everybody’s gay best friend.” 

His videos ran the gamut from jokes and silly routines to another of his skills: twerking. In fact, on his Instagram page, he billed himself as an “international twerk instructor.”

“He loved to twerk,” friend Damein Carter told Pride Source. “That ass moved, and it was fat.”

Raven Turner Cassadine agreed. “He was like the twerkanator,” she said. “I’ve never seen anyone that executed the dance the way that he does.”

Leak said that his friend was garnering attention from across the globe. “He was very much loved and supported,” he said. “He reached his audience by the skits he made. Then he went on to ‘bouncing,’ or as we all know it, ‘twerking.’ He went viral and caught the attention of the likes of Monique, Big Freedia, Gabrielle Union, Kash Doll and many, many more celebrities.”

As his social media fame grew, Teasley began traveling across the country to perform.

“He loved traveling to different states and showcasing his talent,” Leak continued. “New Orleans loved him, Flint, Atlanta, Detroit — he captured such a big audience it was crazy. He always said, ‘I’m famous.’ I said, ‘Friend, shut up, you is not famous, yet’ … but you couldn’t tell him he wasn’t famous.”

Leak said as Teasley’s fame grew, his relationship with his boyfriend grew more troublesome. He said Watkins was “jealous of the attention [Teasley] was getting and how much he traveled.”

Still, if there was physical violence in the relationship, Leak said he was unaware. “I never knew the relationship to be violent,” he said, pointing out that Watkins was only 5’1” and less than 200 pounds. “Verbal, yes. Physical, no. Rory was 6’1” or 6’2.” Three-hundred and something pounds. I couldn’t imagine him hurting anyone. He was a gentle giant. … But Rory was always telling me how he was tired of arguing and stuff like that. So when I met [Watkins], I didn’t care for him.”

Teasley might have been known for his bouncing and his jokes on TikTok, but he took on more serious topics, too. On June 29, 2021, he posted about domestic abuse. “Stop ignoring those red flags, man,” he said. “I know they might look like Six Flags when you’re in love. But protect your mental health.”

Teasley’s last days

So far, 2022 was turning out to be something of a mixed bag for Teasley. On New Year’s Day at 7:10 a.m., he posted that the night was “by far one of the best new years I had.” Then just days later, on Jan. 5, only a day before his own untimely death, Teasley lost his grandmother, Blanche Teasley.

Glover partied with Teasley on New Year’s Eve at Backstreet nightclub in Detroit.

“He was very popular, he had scores of folks seeking his skills in twerking,” Glover said. “We sat next to each other and we wished each other well for the year ahead, and then this. I did not even know he had a boyfriend.”

The last video he posted lamented growing older, which for Teasley meant approaching 30 — an age he will now never reach.

@too2pump4tv Getting Old A Mf 😭😭😭🤣🤣‼️😩 #Fyp #ForYouPage #2Pump4Tv #Old #routine #journaling #bye2021 #fitcheck #2021recap ♬ Floor Cracking (Building Wall Ceiling Ground Concrete House Crack Noise Clip) [Sound Effect] – Finnolia Sound Effects

In the wake of his tragic death, friends are left to wonder just what went wrong and why Teasley had to die. However, one thing is evident: He will not be forgotten.

“He always gives you the best hugs,” said Cassadine. “He knew no strangers. None at all. He was truly the definition of a really good person. … He had no enemies. Everybody loved him.”

“Rory was the light of the room,” Leak added. “When he walked in, he captured everybody’s attention and demanded it with no questions asked. If you didn’t get along with Rory there was something wrong with you. Honestly, there’s nothing negative that came out of his body. He always smiled, laughed and joked with everybody.”

Visitation for Teasley is today until 6 p.m. at Lawrence E. Moon Funeral Home, located at 268 North Perry St. in Pontiac. Teasley’s funeral will be tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. The funeral will take place at Welcome Missionary Baptist Church, located at 143 Oneida St. in Pontiac. A GoFundMe page has been established to help Teasley’s family cover the cost of his final arrangements. So far, just over $2,500 has been raised with a goal of $10,000.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael joined Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. He has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author for his authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," released on his own JAM Books imprint.