*I knew when I was preparing myself to go over to West Angeles Cathedral for Natalie Cole‘s funeral on Monday (01-11-16) that it was going to be a big day.
And as I entered the front doors of the church I immediately felt this awesome spirit come over me.
There she was in her brown casket surrounded by an array of her favorite white roses with two giant photos of her dressed in white on display.
It felt like this was our own Princess Diana that we were coming to salute, and pay tribute to. And as I looked around the room that was nearly empty at that time, (I got there an hour before things got started) I knew that it wouldn’t be long before everyone would be jockeying for a position for a seat.
And slowly, but surely they all began to enter the Cathedral from the likes of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Gladys Knight, Eddie Levert, Freda Payne, Mary Wilson, Chaka Khan, Marla Gibbs, Tony Corneilius, Smokie Robinson, Attorney Robert Shapiro, Jeffery Osborne, Keith Washington, Johnnie Gill, Bobby Brown, Quincy Jones, and the one and only, Stevie Wonder just to name a few.
There were also the countless number of people who co-wrote, produced, and managed her career and worked with her at some point in her life that were there.
And then there were the throngs of well wishers, and fans who nearly filled this huge place that can normally accommodate up to five thousand plus people. This had to be held in a place like this because she was well loved around the world and it just wouldn’t have been correct to do it any other way.
We all stood up when her family entered the room and it felt like the royal court had came in. Along with her son Robert, was her twin sisters Casey, and Timolin, and her beloved uncle who also happens to be one the worlds greatest jazz singers, Freddy Cole, sitting front and center. And as we listened to her vocal stylings over the intercom there was this incredible video being shown on the big screens throughout the place for everyone to see for a behind the scenes look at her in the studio rehearsing, and talking about the ups and downs in the business. The was indeed an unforgettable woman.
Stevie Wonder spoke eloquent words, sung a beautiful song, and performed on the harmonica to a receptive audience. Her son Robert “Robbie” Yancy followed with kind words, saying, “My mother would always tell me to get your act together. So that’s what I’m doing right here.”
The most remarkable thing I felt about her was the fact that as talented as she was, she was vulnerable to the ills of the darkness of the world. And she was courageous enough to fight her way out of those depths of darkness, to reclaim her life and go on to higher heights, and deeper depths of success before she was called to return to God.
And as her casket was wheeled out to the awaiting hearse, there was such a silence, that you could hear a pin drop. It really felt like God had opened the heavens up right there and was saying, ” Come here my dear.” They were playing one of her favorite songs as we all followed her outside entitled “Our love”.
What a beautiful salute to an unforgettable woman.
Mohammed Mubarak can be reached at [email protected] for your comments.