The recent death of Heavy D has resulted in a star-studded ceremony honoring the rapper that took place at the Grace Baptist Church Friday.
The funeral service held in Mount Vernon, NY included both laughter and tears as the rapper’s life and influence was celebrated. Friends and family of the rapper including President Obama, P Diddy, and Will Smith commemorated his life.
One of the most influential artists in the 90’s, Heavy D collapsed in the stairway of his apartment building and was believed to have died from pneumonia or a heart attack earlier this month. The rapper, also known as Dwight Arrington, died at the age of just 44.
In a delivered letter from the president and first lady, the Obama’s expressed their sympathies.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. He will be remembered for his infectious optimism and many contributions to American music. Please know that you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers,” said the letter, quoted during the service by Rev. Al Sharpton.
Heralded as the “Barry White” of rap music, Heavy D sang radio-friendly, profanity-free lyrics – with hits such as “Mr. Big Stuff” and “Big Daddy.”
He was well known for singing the theme song for the 90s hit sitcom “In Living Color.” Heavy D, also an actor, appeared in the off-Broadway play “Riff Raff” in 1995 and in the 2011 film “Tower Heist.”
In September, Heavy D digitally released his ninth and final album Love Opus.
He is survived by his 11-year-old daughter Xea Myers who spoke briefly during the service, telling mourners that her father was “still here, not in the flesh, but in the spirit.”
Also in attendance were superstars Usher, Jay-Z, Queen Latifah, Don King, and John Legend.
“Silently he’s been influential in a lot of our careers,” said Usher after the service. “His love still lives on.”