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Lansing can't help but smile hearing Rose Cooper belt gospel classics on her 2013 Harley

Rose Jangmi Cooper
Posted at 10:10 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 18:53:43-04

LANSING, MICH. —

Whether you're in Old Town, downtown Lansing or REO Town, there's a voice you'll likely hear this summer.

The owner of said voice is Rose Jangmi Cooper.

"During the summer, well, anytime I can get out here, I just ride my bike," said Rose.

"During the summer, well, anytime I can get out here, I just ride my bike," Cooper said. "And it just so happens that while I ride my bike, I sing, and for whatever reason, that catches people's attention."

That's right, while Cooper rides her 2013 Heritage Softail Classic Harley Davidson, she belts out her favorite gospel songs...a capella.

"I get on my bike helmet, I put my earbuds in, you know, I'm careful to listen for kids. I'm very careful about watching where I'm going and everything, but I'm in my own little world," Cooper said.

"I get on my bike helmet, I put my earbuds in, you know, I'm careful to listen for kids. I'm very careful about watching where I'm going and everything, but I'm in my own little world."

As Cooper rode through downtown Lansing, a blonde woman in a red shirt outside Jackson Field hollered, "Tell her she lifts my spirits!"

A man in Old Town ran to Cooper and said, "She's basically a local legend, everybody knows Rose, right?"

I'm thinking that they're in this party that I'm having in my head. But apparently, it's just me.

"I came up in church like a lot of black people who sing gospel music," Cooper said. "I never took any real formal classes. You know, my music is just playing in my head, and I'm just having a party. And I'm always surprised when I stop and turn off my music and everybody else is just quiet. Because I'm thinking that they're in this party that I'm having in my head. But apparently, it's just me."

The shout-outs didn't stop.

In REO Town, a man in a red car rolled down his window and said, "She's always very happy."

"When I first started riding in 1990, I was you know, a little fearful about all the activity and stuff around me," Cooper said. "So, one day, this was just about when the iPods first started coming out, I put my headphones on, and they calmed me down. And the best music to get me going and keep me pumped is gospel music. So I'll play mostly gospel music."

In Old Town, Terry Terry, the owner of UrbanBeat, stopped Cooper.

"Rose is a person who puts a smile on your face," Terry said. "That’s the essence of her singing, her riding, her demeanor. You know that when she’s passing by that she’s having a good time."

"It’s not a performance, I don’t do it for anybody, I just get out there and ride, ya know?" Cooper said.

Ask how often she does this, she said, "Every day that ends with a Y."

I'll tell you my normal routine

"I'll tell you my normal routine is I'll come to Old Town, go downtown, go to MSU, come back and go to REO Town. Then I'll come back downtown, I may wind up in west Lansing. I'm pretty much everywhere that there's space for me to drive," she said.

Cooper also loves taking people for rides on her Harley. But she has a rule.

"I have a charity that I created called Ride and Sing with SonicBOOM. I take people for rides for charities, and we donate the whole amount to the charity. But my rule is if you ride with me, you have to sing," she said.

She isn't exaggerating. Rose graduated from Michigan State University at 50 years old and upon graduating took the then university President Lou Anna Simon for a ride, and "she sang," Cooper said.

I make sure I ride around the inner city

"One thing that I do specifically on purpose is when I'm riding around, I make sure I ride around the inner city. I ride around like the west side of Lansing where I see kids," she said. "I try to interact with kids because I want people to know that I'm nothing special, anybody can do this. And all it takes is letting yourself experiencing the joy that's in life."

Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Erica Murphy

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