After passing away last week from pneumonia complications in Los Angeles, late, great rap icon Heavy D was finally laid to rest on Friday, Nov. 18 at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, N.Y.
According to The Journal News, the church was filled with mourners paying their final respects to the rapper, born Dwight Arrington Myers. Those in the crowd included several of Hev’s family and celebrity friends, such as Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Will Smith, Russell Simmons and Diddy.
During the ceremony, Hev’s 11-year-old daughter, Xea Myers, made a short tribute to her beloved father, telling the audience, “He was just amazing. That’s why we’re all here today, to celebrate his love and passion,” adding that her father was “still here, not in the flesh, but in the spirit.”
Rev. Al Sharpton also shared some kind words for the late emcee, speaking highly of Hev’s positive impact on the world.
“You don’t have to cover no scandals. You don’t have to make no excuses. This man changed the world and he did it without getting ugly or violent or degrading,” said Sharpton, urging everyone at the service to take the same higher road. “The real challenge is what will you leave here to do, and what can we say about you.”
Sharpton wasn’t the only one who was touched by Hev’s life. President Barack Obama, though not in attendance, shared his words of respect for Hev in a brief note, which was read to the audience by Sharpton.
“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,” wrote Obama.
From the White House to the streets, Heavy D’s influence traveled far, and even in his early days, the man known as the “Overweight Lover,” shared his big heart with the world. And as Diddy explained, Hev was one of the people who he looked up to as a kid.
“It’s clear why Heavy is such a beautiful and respected person, ’cause of his family and the way he was raised,” said Combs, beginning his tribute by thanking Heavy D’s parents, Clifford and Eulahlee Myers. “Coming up, I remember how proud I was knowing I was from the same town as Heavy D.”
Diddy then joked about his many comical efforts to meet his hero.
“The first thing I tried is that I was going to take walks on the block that he lived on because I knew there was a chance that he would drive by and and he would see me and I would be, like, ‘Yo! Hev!,’” Diddy said. “And he would roll down his window and I would introduce myself to him and he would introduce himself to me and I would become his manager. And that plan didn’t work too well because he would just keep driving by every time.”
After several more attempts, Diddy eventually introduced himself to Hev, who helped him get his foot in the door at the legendary Uptown Records, cementing what would become a decades-long friendship between the two men.
Throughout the rest of the service, audience members heard from Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson, pastor of Grace Baptist, Mount Vernon Mayor-elect Ernest Davis, and singer Johnny Gill, who, with tears in his eyes, sang an emotional rendition of the gospel hit, “Never Would’ve of Made It.”
Following the 2 1/2 hour ceremony, pall bearers, including some of the original members of Heavy D and the Boyz, carried the casket out of the church. Mourners then accompanied the Myers family to Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale to lay Heavy D in his final resting place. Check below for photos of Hev’s celebrity friends at the funeral. –nicholas robinson