The recent announcement of details of the memorial services for Muhammad Ali has some Black folks hopping mad. So far, the announced eulogists for the champ are former President Bill Clinton, comedian Billy Crystal, noted Black journalist Bryant Gumble, Attallah Shabazz, wife Lonnie Ali, eldest daughter Maryum and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey. President Obama will be unable to attend because he will be at his daughter’s high school graduation. When word hit Black social media it created a series of comments that there are no Black activists scheduled to speak and memes such as below:
Some are asking why other well known Blacks such as Min. Louis Farrakhan are not playing a bigger role as speakers at the service for Ali. It turns out that the champ and his family worked on his funeral plans a year ago and all the wishes of Ali are spelled out in a 2-inch binder known as “the book.” Details include that actor Will Smith, who played Ali in the self-named biopic Ali, will be a pallbearer as well as former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. Lewis stated to media, “I am humbled, and honored, beyond words to help see my hero, Muhammad Ali, off to his final resting place. Ali has always been an enormous inspiration to me, not only in my boxing career, but also in life. His journey began 74 years ago, and in that time, he not only transformed the world of sport, he used sport to transform the world.”
Other pallbearers include Jerry Ellis (the brother of Jimmy Ellis, Ali’s former sparring partner and fellow world heavyweight champion), Ali’s cousins John Grady and Jan Wadell, and family friend John Ramsey. Family spokesman Bob Gunnel stated to media, “Everything that we’re doing here was blessed by Muhammad Ali, and was requested ”He wanted the memorial service to reflect his life, and how he lived. He wanted everyone to be able to attend. He was the people’s champ, and he wanted the memorial service to reflect that. ‘We want this to be inclusive of everyone. That’s why we set Freedom Hall – not just with its historical significance but with the size of Freedom Hall, so that everyone fits in. ‘That Muslims and people of all faiths could attend, and perhaps learn more and be like Muhammad Ali, and open their hearts to everybody. ‘This is not a political statement, this is not about politics, this is about how Muhammad Ali lived his life.”
So, people, calm down. All off this was the last wishes of Ali.