In the bustling streets of Harlem during the 1970s, amidst the rise of the drug trade and the reign of notorious figures like Frank Matthews and Frank Lucas, one name stood out among the rest: Maxine "Red Top" Walters. At just 16 years old, she defied all odds to become a teenage millionaire, leaving an indelible mark on the history of Harlem.
Known for her extravagant lifestyle, Red Top was a sight to behold. She would strut into school adorned in fur coats, her confidence radiating as she boasted to her teachers about her ability to rake in $300,000 in a single month. But her wealth wasn't just for herself – she would often take her teachers and classmates on lavish shopping sprees, sharing her fortune with those around her.
Red Top's ascent to wealth and power was facilitated by her association with the likes of Frank Matthews and Frank Lucas, two titans of the Harlem underworld. Her hustle and ambition earned her the respect of these notorious figures, with Matthews even granting her the authority to mark her work with her own stamp: "DOA," signifying "Dead on Arrival."
Yet it wasn't just her business acumen that captivated those around her – Red Top's beauty was legendary among the dealers of Harlem, causing envy and strife among rival factions. Her presence sparked tensions between prominent figures like Peewee Kirkland and Freddie Myers, further solidifying her status as a force to be reckoned with.
Red Top ran in circles with other Harlem juggernauts, including the likes of West Indian Chuck, Stevie Baker, and Cisco Kid, further cementing her reputation as a formidable player in the game.
Tragically, Red Top's life was cut short in a twist of fate. Accidentally caught in the crossfire between Nicky Barnes' bodyguard, known as Black Sunday, and a man who owed Barnes money, she fell victim to the violence that often plagued the streets of Harlem.
Despite her untimely demise, Red Top's legacy lived on. Nicky Barnes, recognizing her significance, spared no expense in honoring her memory. He famously paid Sammy Davis Jr. to sing at her funeral, and Harlem's elite drug dealers turned out in droves to pay their respects to the fallen queenpin.
In the aftermath of her passing, Red Top's family discovered a staggering $4 million hidden away in one of her condos in Riverdale, a testament to the wealth she had amassed in her short life. She owned two Cadillacs, each a symbol of her status and success – one sleek and black, the other adorned with white and red interiors.
Maxine "Red Top" Walters may have been just 17 years old at the time of her death, but her impact on Harlem's underworld and her legacy as a teenage millionaire continue to reverberate through the annals of history. Her story serves as a reminder of the allure and dangers of the streets, as well as the resilience and ambition of those who dare to defy the odds.