George Floyd’s funeral in Houston, Texas today was not only the central point of Black pain, love, angst, and unity in the world but in addition to the public servants, preachers and drum majors for justice and deliverers of God’s word that were in attendance, the Black celebrity world showed up to affirm its solidarity and emotional investment in this historic turning point for America and race relations in this country.
Reverend Al Sharpton, who has been criticized throughout his career by police officers, right-wing oppressors, and even his own people, delivered a memorable eulogy and dove into the moment, delivering comfort, hope, and a fighting spirit to not only George Floyd’s family, but the many family members of Black people who have viciously and unjustly had their lives taken by the hands of law enforcement.
“All of these families came to stand with the Floyd family because they know better than anyone else the pain (Floyd’s family) will suffer from the loss they have gone through,” said the 66-year-old Sharpton, who in the words of Bishop James Dixon II of The Community Faith Church, is a ‘social justice activist, a civil rights leader, a talk show host, a commentator, a leader of movements and a world changer, a freedom fighter and preacher amongst preachers.’
Sharpton also took the time to thank the celebrities and Black power brokers in attendance. Some of whom have marched with the Black Live Matter protesters and also contributed to the funeral proceedings and making sure George Floyd’s family had the financial and emotional support needed.
Those figures included distinguished filmmaker Tyler Perry, Black billionaire Robert Smith, the CEO of private equity firm Vista Partners, undefeated world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, who has always contributed his time and money to helping others less fortunate, especially in these kinds of situations. The multi-talented Jaime Foxx, former RnB star Al B. Sure, Houston Texans Cal McNair, Cincinnati Bengals star DJ Reader and football legend Terrell Owens were also in attendance.
Neyo sang an emotional rendition of “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye” for the 500 people in attendance.
Their presence alone, according to Sharpton, “helps people understand the weight of this.”
Said Dixon: “When officer Chauvin put his knee on the neck of George Floyd he had no idea that the man whose life he had taken would be important enough to have this preacher, to preach his eulogy. (Chauvin) probably thought it would end quietly. In some obscure funeral home with a few people. But he had no idea that President’s of nations would think and write about (Floyd). And that the preacher who would preach the service would be the greatest Civil Rights preaching voice of our time.”
In fitting fashion, Sharpton tied a bow on the entire ceremony by speaking truth to power, delivering a sermon that gave everyone goosebumps, and helping to send Floyd to heaven with a hero’s goodbye.
The mourning continues, the struggle continues, the fight continues because as Sharpton said: “Lives like George’s won’t matter until somebody pays the cost for taking their lives”
RIP George Floyd