Despite social distancing protocols, hundreds of adoring fans attended various local vigils honoring the legacy of hip hop icon DMX since he transitioned April 9. A grand finale send-off is planned for this Saturday afternoon at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

When DMX was hospitalized on April 2 after a stroke, hundreds of family, friends & fans huddled at around-the-clock candlelight vigils outside White Plains Hospital for a week, praying for a miracle as DMX laid hooked up to a respirator. After he passed, his twin hometowns conducted separate memorials honoring his legacy.

On Tuesday evening, April 13, dozens of lit red candles glowed along the sidewalk of Yonkers’ School Street, adjacent to DMX’s former complex where he grew up. Over a thousand people came out to pay homage to their hometown heroes’ legacy.

Several people reflected on a young Earl Simmons as he was coming of age in Yonkers, prior to becoming a world-renowned hip hop icon, selling millions of records. Some mentioned the fact that despite his global fame he never forgot his roots and returned periodically to assist area youths.

“I knew him as a young girl growing up,” reflected a native Yonkers resident. “Him and my cousins are best friends and he always called me sis, and I called him bro. Before the fame, he was my brother Earl.”

Red balloons were released into the air, breaking the stillness of the mostly somber event. A DJ concluded the occasion by playing several DMX and Ruff Ryder tracks.

Earlier that day, on the wall of La Estrella Tropical Restaurant in the Bronx’s Olinville section, a DMX mural was unveiled.

Then at the Wednesday April 14th “Celebrate the Life, Legacy and Service of Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons” memorial at the 4th Street Park, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard stated: “I want to talk about the depth of his darkness, but his life shined brightly. He lived his life out loud. He gave lessons.”

About another thousand attended as the DJ played classic tracks by the Grammy-nominated artist: “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog,” “Stop Being Greedy,” “And Then There Was X,” “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” “The Great Depression” and “Grand Champ,” and “Party Up (Up in Here).”

The music was paused as the DJ asked the audience to flick their lighters, cellphone lights on in honor of DMX. Red balloons were then released, prior to the crowd dispersing.

Reportedly, DMX’s family refuted an offer from Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano to host a memorial at Yonkers Raceway, and instead selected Brooklyn’s Barclays Center due to proximity and current COVID-19 restrictions, which scales down attendance dramatically at 10 percent capacity, which comes to about 1,900 people for Barclays Center.

Marquees at Madison Square Garden and the Apollo Theater displayed tributes to DMX.

“To live is to suffer, to survive… is to find meaning in the suffering.” DMX