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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?

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