The Coty Johnson Story


Coty was an extraordinary woman who truly believed and bravely attempted to make the world a better place. At the young age of 21, she moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to Los Angeles to help an aunt raise her three young children. I was delivering furniture in her building when we first met. Her physical beauty paled in comparison to her inner beauty. I’d found a kindred spirit, and marriage was inevitable.

Coty was an avid reader and far wiser than her years. An emotional woman, she cried at the ending of the original Sparkle and when I came home on crutches after breaking my ankle at work.

Her favorite song was “Beautiful” by Gordon Lightfoot. And no song captured the essence of a woman as much as that one. It is a song that I still listen to and the words always remind me of her. She was truly beautiful, in every way!

Coty loved being a wife and mother. When our daughter Koya was born, she watched over her as though she was a treasure. Motherhood didn’t interfere with her activism in the least. Whenever she went on demonstrations and marches, she’d dutifully pack up Koya and carry her with her. And I’m sure Koya would have inherited all of Coty’s traits.

Going to Jonestown and attempting to make a better world was second nature to her. Coty believed she could take the ugly in society and transform it into something new and beautiful. The world lost a voice for the downtrodden, the underprivileged, the forgotten, and the powerless, when she perished in Jonestown with so many other dreamers. My biggest regret in life is that I let her go ahead before I was ready to go.

May Coty and Koya rest in peace and love.