Atlanta

Inside Takeoff’s celebration of life: Tears, prayers and powerful performances

ATLANTA — Friends, family members, a host of celebrities and thousands of fans gathered at State Farm Arena Friday to say goodbye to Migos rapper Takeoff.

The 28-year-old rapper, whose real name was Kirshnik Khari Ball, was shot and killed at a Houston bowling alley Nov. 1 during a private party. So far, no one has been arrested in the shooting.

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Under a rainy, dreary sky on Friday, fans waited in line for hours to pay their respects at the service, which was a free, ticketed event only offered to Georgians.

Channel 2′s Michael Seiden was inside the Arena, where there were no cameras allowed and fans were told not to bring their phones inside. The stage and arena were decorated with bouquets of roses and the rapper’s closed coffin was at the front of the stage. Photos of Takeoff were shown on monitors throughout the service.

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Seiden said the event was a very emotional and moving afternoon with lots of tears, laughter and prayer.

Justin Bieber and Chloe Bailey delivered powerful performances. Drake tearfully read a poem he wrote about the rapper and spoke their friendship. Drake and The Migos toured together in 2018.

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Quavo and Offset, the remaining members of the Migos, spoke emotionally about the rapper, who was Quavo’s nephew and a cousin of Offset. Takeoff’s mother, spoke about how he was destined for greatness from the time that he was a child.

At one point, Mayor Andre Dickens spoke and presenting Takeoff’s family with the city’s highest award, the Phoenix Award, posthumously.

Multiple speakers at the service called on an end to the violence.

Aside from the celebrities who spoke, Cardi B., who is married to Offset, was in attendance as well as Jack Harlow and Jaquees.

“Long Live Takeoff” trended on Twitter during the service.

Seiden talked to fans who got to rub elbows with stars.

“Oh my gosh! The music, the family. You could see the artists and their feelings. You could see how everyone connected and loved him,” Simone May said.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones was outside State Farm Arena, where some fans who couldn’t get in still celebrated his life outside.

Cameron Watson said he went to the same high school as the rapper.

“It was kid of tough when he passed away,” Watson said. “I felt like a part of me was lost.”

Some people outside protested gun violence. Kevin Gadson, from South Carolina, said he lost his best friend to gun violence. He said the Black community is losing too many rappers and black men, and we have to do something to stop it.

“I’m here to promote and support the family,” Gadson said. “What is the answer? God. That’s the only thing. Change. Love.”

After the service, the hearse carrying Takeoff’s wove through his Lawrenceville neighborhood. It’s unclear where his final resting place is.

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