Even President Obama had nothing but love for Heavy D, the respected New York-bred rapper who was laid to rest Friday after a star-studded funeral in his Mount Vernon hometown.
The Rev Al Shapton, speaking during the service, invited the late rapper’s daughter, Xea, to the pulpit and read a statement to the 11-year-old.
“I want to read you something and I want you to keep this, Xea,” Sharpton said, before reading it and revealing that it came from the White House.
Obama’s message offered condolences and praised the rapper for his “infectious optimism and many contributions to American music.”
The message drew a thunderous ovation from the 1,500 loved ones and friends — which included numerous stars — gathered at Grace Baptist Church for the private service.
A poised Xea told the crowd her father is “still here, not in flesh, but in spirit and love.”
The emotional service was filled with thoughtful remarks and soulful performances from Heavy D’s famous friends.
Johnny Gill, Yolanda Adams, Anthony Hamilton, were among the performers.
An emotional Gill, wearing dark sunglasses, related his memories of the rapper, who was born Dwight Myers in Jamaica, before giving a moving performance of “Never Could’ve Made It,” during which he was backed up by Burrell and a choir.
Heavy D who was born in Jamaica was remembered by loved ones as a kind-hearted man who remained modest after making it big as the frontman for the group Heavy D and the Boyz.
“My heart is very heavy,” said Gill, a former member of singing group New Edition. “Sometimes we take life for granted…I just want to say to Heavy: ‘Job well done.’”
Celebrities in the huge crowd included musicians Jay Z, John Legend, Rosie Perez, and Q-Tip, actors Samuel L Jackson,, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith,, Queen Latifah along with boxing promoter Don King .
Gill and Burrell’s performance brought many to tears.
“I want y’all to know that he made it,” said Gill, choking up as he closed his comments.
Heavy D died Nov. 8 at age 44 after collapsing outside his Beverly Hills condo. He had sought medical treatment for flu-like symptoms the day before, but officials refused to release the results of a preliminary autopsy, saying that more tests were needed to determine how the rapper died.
Heavy D was a major player on the rap scene in the late 1980s and early ’90s and is best known for his hits, “Now That We Found Love” and “Nuttin’ But Love.” He also rapped on Michael Jackson’s 1992 single, “Jam.”
In 2010, Obama told Rolling Stone magazine he was starting to delve more into rap music.
“Thanks to Reggie [Love, the president’s personal aide], my rap palate has greatly improved,” Obama said. “Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I’ve got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert. Malia and Sasha are now getting old enough to where they start hipping me to things. Music is still a great source of joy and occasional solace in the midst of what can be some difficult days.”