‘He Had a Gift’: DMX Remembered at Emotional Brooklyn Funeral Service [Photos + Video]

On Sunday (April 25), shortly after 2:30 p.m. EST, BET began broadcasting DMX’s homegoing funeral service live from the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, NY.

via: New York Post

“It makes me sad that my dad will never be able to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ ever to me again,” the rapper’s 9-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, said during the ceremony at Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center, which was streamed online.

“I was excited to come to New York and spend a week with him and meet some of my brothers and sisters. But God had other plans.”

She added, “I know my dad is in heaven. Even though he can’t talk back, I know I can still talk to him. I think it’s good that I get to call my dad a legend. Rest easy, dad.”

Mourners at the Brooklyn hall heard similar tributes from several of DMX’s 15 children. The “Party Up” rapper’s red casket and the word “FAITH” in large, black letters were featured at the front of the room.

Among the stars in attendance were singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and her producer husband, Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean.

“DMX was definitely not an artist to me. He was a brother, he was a friend,” Dean said. “The key thing is he maintained his passion, he maintained his strength.”

“He was barking and howling on stage to hide the real things that he was going through,” he said. “He was a sweetheart. He was the most giving and loving person that I ever met, and I always wanted to protect him. I felt it was my job to protect him.”

In a videotaped tribute, Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Records, recalled how DMX helped lead a resurgence of the label — calling him “my new superhero.”

But Simmons also recalled how both men struggled with drugs.

“I had been through struggles,” he said. “So, I had all these experiences so I could relate to this man, and I know I was very lucky to have escaped. And this brother was going through what I had been through, and I knew it.”

“And I did very little,” Simmons added. “And I’ll never forget that I didn’t do much to help.”

A.R. Bernard, the center’s pastor, told the audience that he only recently began listening to DMX’s music.

“I discovered that Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons had a gift,” Bernard said. “And I don’t say that lightly. I saw videos where thousands of people — white folks — cheering and screaming at this man. And it was something special. He had a gift.”

The service also included a litany of official honors for the late rapper, including a proclamation from the New York State Senate declaring Dec. 18 — DMX’s birthday — Earl “DMX” Simmons Day. Additional citations came from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Mike Spano of Yonkers, the rapper’s hometown.

Cuomo also had the flag flying over the state capitol on the day of DMX’s death presented to his family.

“DMX is who he was and who he is, and the reason he has affected the people in the hip-hop genre and human beings across the globe is because he was genuine,” controversial religious leader Louis Farrakhan said via video.

The private service, reserved for family and friends, followed a massive memorial service at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center on Saturday.

DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was led to the public service in a red coffin atop a custom-made Ford F250 monster truck.

The procession halted traffic along Flatbush Avenue and other Big Apple streets.

The 50-year-old rapper died at White Plains Hospital in Westchester County on April 9. He reportedly suffered a drug overdose and subsequent heart attack.

DMX grew up in the School Street public housing complex in Yonkers and rose to rap fame with the release of his 1998 debut, “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot.”

The album went platinum five times.

He released two more albums within the following year — “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood” and “…And Then There Was X” — which together sold more than 8 million units.

Today’s funeral service follows yesterday’s memorial event that took place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The socially distanced attendees and those tuning in during the live stream saw music performed by Kanye West and his Sunday Service Choir, as well as additional tributes from fellow hip hop artists and collaborators. Prior to that event, DMX’s casket could be seen making its final ride through the streets of New York City on a monster truck.

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