All Articles Tagged "funerals"

Should Funerals Be Livestreamed?

May 11th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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As technology continues to evolve, people desire to share and be more connected to the friends, foes and family alike no matter the life event. As married couples create trendy hashtags for their wedding festivities and college students launch various online platforms of awareness for societal issues, the latest social media movement on the block is live-streamed funerals.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Although others would find it bizarre to have such a personal moment live stream on the internet, others believe it is perfect for loved ones who cannot attend the event. Curtis Funk, owner of, told The New York Daily News, his company streams over 100 funerals a day. Although marketing for the company is minimal, Funk notes funeral homes hire for their clients. Funk said the idea to live stream funerals came when he was given a VHS of a relative’s funeral in 2003. Afterward, Funk thought it would be best to record funerals on CDs or DVDs once VHS became obsolete. When the internet became a more popular and accessible tool to use, he began to use webcasting instead.

Funk’s business along with other funeral streaming companies charge funeral homes $149 to $300 a month for using their equipment. The homes then charge their clients the cost of the streaming along with their other fees. In order to live stream, loved ones are sent a password for stream the funeral and they will also have the opportunity to watch it on demand for an allotted amount of time. notes 2,500 funeral homes have signed up for their services that generates within the $15 billion funeral industry.

Monica Klementowicz Tilot who works at Riverside Chapel noted if a person under the age of 50 is planning a funeral, they will most likely ask about the streaming services. Whereas the older generation believes if a person cares enough, they will make arrangements to be there. However, David Lutterman of One Room, another funeral streaming service believes, “The streaming just increases the number of people who connect. We’ve done ceremonies where 400 people connect online and the chapel was still full. There’s no substitute for the real thing.”

Do you agree?

Serious Question: Why Do Black People Take Pictures Of Dead Bodies?

March 16th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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While he has his brilliant moments, for the most part, I regard rapper Kevin Gates as a bit–if not drastically– disturbed. His lyrics are chillingly misogynistic and then there was the whole knowingly having sex with his cousin thing that just made me think that dude is missing a few screws.

Anyways, since he’s such an interesting individual, his behavior and comments get coverage. Last week Friday, Gates had to say goodbye to his grandmother. Like many of us who’ve lost loved ones, he viewed the body. While doing so, he took a picture of his grandmother and posted it on his Instagram.

(And if you’re wondering why he covered his grandmother’s mouth, he offered an explanation here.) 

Some of you might be ready and willing to write this behavior off as macabre but I’ve seen this one too many times to do that.

I’ve seen people I went to high school with, post pictures of their dead relatives, still in a hospital bed. Sometimes they’re standing next to the body looking solemn, sometimes they’re smiling. I’ve seen photos that have gone viral of friends posing with the standing corpse of their deceased homie.

My own father has been known to take pictures of relatives at funerals. I remember when my maternal grandmother passed away he did the same at her funeral. And later, when he printed the pictures, he asked my aunts and uncles, his in-laws, if they wanted to see them. My grandmother had six children and just a couple of them wanted to see the pictures. Everyone else declined.

Knowing my grandmother and the thought and effort she put into her final outfit, she would have most likely delighted in the fact that someone would be able to view and commend her selection, long after she was gone. With a white and gold trimmed dress, matching cape, with coordinating slippers, it was clearly an outfit my grandmother wanted to be seen in this life and perhaps the next. I have to admit, there was something very angelic about it.

And though my aunts and uncles weren’t here for the casket pics, that certainly didn’t stop my father from taking the pictures at other funerals, later. For those who are adamant about documentation, this is a great way to have a person’s last photo in your possession.

Taking a poll in the office this morning, listening to my coworkers talking about their other family members doing the same thing, I’m certain that this is something like a Black thang. Then again, I’ve never been to the funeral of a person who occupied a White body. So maybe it’s just a universal grief thing.

Do you have family members who take pictures of people in the casket? Do you know why they do it?

“Lord Take Me Noooooow!” 9 Things You Should Never Do, Say Or Wear At A Funeral

March 21st, 2013 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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"Funeral pf"

Funerals are already difficult things for all to attend, especially the family or close friends of the deceased. But nothing makes thing worse (and stays as a negative memory for years to come) then when someone comes to the funeral and acts a damn fool. Whether they’re singing a song for the dead and CAN’T actually sing, telling a crude story as they recount what they consider a positive memory, or offering the worst words of support ever, you should do your best to be a positive yet QUIET support when you go to a funeral. Whatever you do though, just don’t get caught doing the following:

Death Has A New Attitude: “Best Funeral Ever” Premieres Tonight On TLC

January 6th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Listen, don’t shoot the messenger.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, TLC will be premiering “Best Funeral Ever” tonight with an hour long special. The show will follow Dallas funeral home, Golden Gate Funeral Home, as they come up with some of the most eccentric homegoing celebrations you’ve ever seen. The owner,John Beckwith Jr wants to bring about a certain attitude to the sad situation, looking to give a smile to the mourning friends and family, versus just going with continued sadness. They can pretty much make anything happen; as Beckwith said, “If the deceased wanted to dunk a basketball, we can make it happen.”

Golden Gate, while providing the wishes for the family and possible “too little, too late” dreams by the deceased, they also provide professional funeral mourners. Now, some of you may have seen this type of person at a church service or funeral you’ve attended , but they do it for free. The professional mourners hired by Golden Gate are trained to grieve loudly and excessively at funerals of people they’ve never met so the family will open up.

The show will likely turn into a full reality show if the special does as well as TLC expects with the ratings.

I’m not sure that I’m interested in watching a show about eclectic funeral arrangements but it certainly can’t be any worse than anything else on television.

Let’s All Do Better: The Crazy Things I’ve Seen At Funerals

August 24th, 2012 - By Sheena Bryant
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Wise men say that to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the sun.  There is a time to live and a time to die.  Not to be morbid at all, but we all know that as surely as we live today, we will not live forever. While we probably all have Peter Pan moments and wish that we could hold onto youth and live in perpetuity, that just simply ain’t gonna happen.  Death is inevitable and is a natural part of life—granted, it is rarely a comfortable thing to think about our own mortality and that of the people we love.  Seeing someone you’ve cared deeply about pass from life to death is just plain ole hard.  Grief is real people!  I have gone to more funerals than I care to recall, and I have been sorely stricken with overpowering grief on more occasions than I could ever desire.  Life is fleeting, but boy is it interesting…and may I add that funerals are too?

I don’t know you, but I’m willing to bet big money that I’ve seen way more foolishness at funerals than you ever will.  The tomfoolery and shenanigans that I’ve seen ensue have taught me that most people really just don’t handle grief well.  As they fondle their way through bereavement, people have the tendency to exhibit behavior that simply isn’t quite right.  This is entertaining.  Sure, I’d prefer to not witness so many loved ones laid to rest, but the things that have happened at their homegoings…I. Could Not. Make. Up.

There is the time one of the elders at the church decided to read a passage of scripture condemning fornication at my father’s funeral which prompted my sister to swiftly rise to her feet in the middle of the services and demand that, despite our father’s reputation as a ladies’ man in his hay day, a proper scripture be read!  Or there’s the time my certifiably crazy cousin showed up at my mother’s funeral with a fresh shiner and walked around to every person asking “you wanna know how I got this? My girl walked in on me in bed with another woman and she hit me in my eye.”  Every person.  There’s also my cousin who decided the best way to honor his father, my uncle, was to perform an original rap at the funeral.  And how could I forget the time a close family friend literally chased her son’s girlfriend around the casket during the burial because she blamed her for his untimely death and how at that same burial, my sister sobbed uncontrollably on our older sister’s shoulder until our sister kindly said to her “baby, I’m gon’ have to give you a tic tac.”  There was definitely that awkward moment when my uncle-in-law’s sister came to the podium and informed the guests that her brother was a “soldja, and all his kids was soldjas,” that he, in fact, taught her to be a “soldja” too and that she carried brass knuckles.

And then there’s my favorite, the moment my super sanctified older cousin walked to the mic during remarks and reflections at my aunt’s funeral. She began to talk about the “real good times” her and my aunt had “out in the world before Christ” and told everyone listening that there was a special friend she used to call I Hear Ya Baby and proceeded to say—at the front of the church—”I Hear Ya Baby, if you’re here would you stand up.” When it became quiet enough to hear crickets and everyone’s face was frozen in a blank stare, she continued, “I Hear Ya Baby, if you won’t stand then just wave at me so I know you in the building.”  She waited for several moments without a response from I Hear Ya Baby.  Awkward.

You see, when people are grieving they are likely to allow emotion rather than reason to guide their actions.  The actions that they take in the midst of grief have a way of reaching ridiculous levels of not cool.  So, here’s a word of advice.  If you find yourself dealing unexpectedly with the loss of a loved one, don’t be so quick to act.  Process the loss and try to remain rational despite the pain.  This will help to alleviate erratic behavior.  Try to maintain a level of normalcy and control by returning to your regular mealtimes and sleeping patterns.  Journal about how you are feeling if you believe it will help.  Construct a team of supportive folks with whom you are comfortable enough to express the myriad emotions that you are experiencing.  Do not, under any circumstance, go to the funeral and act a plumb fool.  People like me will write about you in articles; your family members will give you a perpetual side eye, and you will never be able to live those actions down.

Dealing with death is hard, but you can get through it.  Time heals even the deepest of wounds.  To those having a tough go at it, take things a day at a time and stop behaving badly.  It’s embarrassing and as unfortunate as it is, people will remember and WILL talk about you.

We’ve all seen our fair share of ridiculous antics at funerals that we will never forget.  Haven’t you?  Do share.

Sheena Bryant is a writer and blogger in Chicago.  Follow her on twitter at @song_of_herself.

More on Madame Noire!

Women Warm up a Dead Business

April 29th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(Medill Reports) — An empty casket draped in an American flag sat in the back of the classroom at Malcolm X College Thursday morning. Sitting quietly throughout the room, 14 mortuary science students waited for their Sociology of Funeral Service class to begin.  Ten were women. It’s a scene that’s becoming increasingly common as greater numbers of females enter the funeral service field.  “We deal better with births and deaths” than men, said Denise Hudson, 55, who is in her first year of a two-year program to earn an associate in applied science degree at the Near West Side school.  “We’re somewhat made to comfort. When you were little and you got hurt, you went to your mother, not your dad.”  Women have entered many educational and professional fields in recent decades. But the nurturing-woman stereotype seems to explain why more and more female students have decided to study funeral service. They have grown from a small minority to a small majority at the country’s 56 mortuary science programs.

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Ghanaian Funerals a Hot Ticket

April 12th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(New York Times) — At 2 a.m. on a Saturday in the Bronx, the dance floor was packed, the drinks were flowing and a knot of young women with stylish haircuts and towering heels had just arrived at the door, ready to plunge into the fray.  It could have been any nightclub or wedding hall — except for the T-shirts, posters and CDs bearing the photo of an elegant older woman. The raucous party was, in fact, a funeral for Gertrude Manye Ikol, a 65-year-old nurse from Ghana who had died two months earlier. A few blocks away, guests spilled out of an even more boisterous memorial.  The Irish may be known for their spirited wakes, but Ghanaians have perfected the over-the-top funeral. And in New York City, these parties anchor the social calendar of the fast-growing community of immigrants from that West African nation.  Held nearly every weekend in church auditoriums and social halls across the city, they are all-night affairs with open bars and window-rattling music. While the families are raising money to cover funeral expenses, teams of flourishing entrepreneurs — disc jockeys, photographers, videographers, bartenders and security guards — keep it all humming while turning a tidy profit.

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Alexandria Officials Mull Fee for Funeral Procession Escorts

April 9th, 2010 - By TheEditor
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