Family, friends gather for Biz Markie memorial service in NY

Biz Markie’s widow, Tara Hall, also took to the Patchogue Theater stage to speak about her husband. 

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The grieving family and friends of Biz Markie congregated at Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts on Long Island in New York to honor the legendary “Just a Friend” rapper, who died July 16 at age 57.

According to the Associated Press, Monday’s event was filled with laughter, tears, songs and stories. Rap pioneer Roxanne Shante delivered a tribute to Markie, as did former R&B singer Montell Jordan.

In this May 2018 photo, rapper Biz Markie hangs out at the Netflix FYSEE kick-off party at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy as Markie’s black coffin sat in the stage’s center, adorned with white flowers. 

“He cared for people, he had a way of making us laugh through our pain,” said Sharpton, according to AP. “He’d come in a room, and his presence didn’t have to be announced; it was felt.”

“The thing that was remarkable about Biz is he never lost that authenticity,” said Sharpton. “Some artists started Black and then went mainstream. Biz was one of the artists that made mainstream come Black.”

Markie’s widow, Tara Hall, also spoke about her husband, saying he made her laugh every day. “That is not hyperbole,” she told attendees. “That is a fact.”

“The thing I’m going to miss the most about him was every time he would see me, his face would just light up with that Chiclet, toothy smile,” said Hall.

While Markie was sick in the hospital and even after the legend’s tragic passing last month, celebrities had strong reactions and came out of woodwork to show their support. 

As theGrio previously reported, Hall said Fat Joe called the rapper every day during the final days of his life. He reportedly asked to cover the cost of Markie’s funeral and memorial, but Hall refused, although she appreciated the gesture.

Fellow artist-producer Missy Elliott also took to social media to honor the late Markie, writing in a tweet, “I can remember so many times trying to beat box like you until my lips was sore & whenever we saw each other your energy was always so full of Life/Love/& Good Vibes. Your impact in the culture Is 4EVER & you will NEVER be Forgotten. Rest king @BizMarkie.”

According to TMZ, former President Barack Obama and his family sent letters of condolences to Hall expressing “their sorrow” at her husband’s death. 

The entire event was live-streamed by BET and can be watched below or found on the network’s YouTube page. 

theGrio’s Jared Alexander contributed to this report.

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