Thousands stood outside hip hop legend DMX’s (Earl Simmons) memorial at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center Saturday, April 24. Due to COVID-19 restrictions attendance was limited to 1,900 people. A more private memorial was conducted on Sunday. Both events were live-streamed. After eight days on life-support, DMX passed on April 9.
While Saturday’s invitation-only memorial was closed to the public, several thousand packed the streets surrounding the arena––many had been waiting several hours, and some traveling from other states.
A caravan of over 1,000 vehicles, mostly Ruff Ryder motorcycles, chaperoned a black monster truck with “Long Live DMX” painted on its side, carrying his red casket, which had trekked from Yonkers to Brooklyn, arriving around 1:30 p.m.
The memorial began with a video of DMX attempting to console one of his daughters while they’re riding a thundering roller coaster. “Daddy’s here,” he shouted.
Various people took turns speaking as his casket sat in the center of Barclay’s floor.
“It’s a sad day as well as a glorious day,” said Nas, DMX’s co-star in “Belly” (1998). “That was my brother. We did a great movie together. On that movie, he was just rising up as a star. His first album didn’t even come out yet, but he knew his journey was starting.”
Ruff Ryder’s queen, Eve, said she hasn’t accepted DMX’s death, and that he was a “man, a father, a friend.”
Colleague Drag-On said: “I’m trying my best not to cry right now, but I’m not s–t without this dude, bro. You feel me? He taught me everything I know. The air I breathe is what he put in my lungs.”
Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Busta Rhymes, Kanye West, the Lox and Swiss Beats also were in attendance.
“He didn’t have family, but he found family through Ruff Ryders,” said Joaquin Dean, a.k.a. Waah, one of the label’s co-founders. “And then he made a worldwide family and touched them with his music.”
In a display of familial unity, DMX’s 15 offspring converged on-stage to reflect on their father.
“You can never prepare for anything like this. My father is a king. Our father is an icon. I am so honored to have a father like we have,” said his son Xavier. “This man deepened my ability to love.”
Teary-eyed grade-school-age son Manny said his father encouraged him to be great,
His daughter Sonovah Junior recited her rendition of his 1998 recording “Slippin’”: “I’m growing. I’m learning to hold my head up / My daddy’s still holding my hand so I gotta stand up.”
Yet another daughter dedicated several lines to him, rapping, “He taught me to be strong, but it’s OK to be afraid, ’cause sometimes it’ll show you how to be brave.”
One of X’s younger, teary-eyed sons proclaimed: “If it wasn’t for my dad I wouldn’t be great at a lot of things. He wasn’t just a rapper. He was the best dad ever.”
Tashera Simmons, DMX’s ex-wife, told the audience: “Everything he did, he did for you all. He always wanted to please you. He always wanted to give you his best show.”
They then asked those in attendance to cross their arms above their heads in an “X,” before departing.
“We’re here to honor a man God sent this way to give us lessons to grow us from,” Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan assessed when he Zoomed in on Sunday to the Simmons’ private memorial service, after several family members spoke. “The future of Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons is great because each child, each female that was in his life will carry his legacy on, and they will do greater things if they hold on to the beautiful man that is their father.”
He added: “His life, love, pain, and suffering shaped him to be a voice for our young people all over the world. God used his life to educate and teach that you can come from suffering and still affect the world. He didn’t have an easy life, he had a successful life because he found his purpose.”
Farrakhan also addressed DMX’s children: “Each of you has a piece of him. Never think of your father as dog, turn it around and think of him as a God. The struggle will continue and you will win, as he won. He’s free!”