After staging a ‘funeral’ showcasing what appeared to be the embalmed body of an up-and-coming rapper who was shot dead during a heist two weeks earlier, a nightclub has stirred uproar.
Fans of rapper Goonew were shocked when cellphone recordings from the event, nicknamed The Final Show, were released on Sunday night at club Bliss in Washington, DC.
The 24-year-old rapper, whose real name was Markelle Morrow, was killed on March 18 in the District Heights neighborhood’s 3400 block of Walters Lane.
Patrice Parker Morrow, his mother, stated her son was shot in the back during a robbery and that a large bejeweled pendant that he wore all the time was stolen.
On Sunday, a sizable audience gathered at Bliss, which touts itself as “the perfect venue for a refined night of relaxing and dancing,” to bid goodbye to the up-and-coming rapper.
Guests paid $40 to attend Morrow’s funeral, according to celebrity news blog The Shade Room.
Videos from the event show what looks to be Morrow’s body propped up on a stage with his eye open, dressed in a designer Amiri hooded sweatshirt, ripped pants with flames, and sneakers, with a watch and a gold crown.
While multi-colored strobe lights fill the packed venue, the crowd can be seen dancing and singing. Fireworks are set off very next to Morrow at one point.
Many Instagram users were shocked by the macabre exhibition, calling it “strange,” “disturbing,” and “disrespectful.”
Others, on the other hand, defended Morrow’s physique on stage, claiming that it was what his family desired.
On Monday, the management of Bliss nightclub issued an Instagram message attempting to separate itself from the developing controversy surrounding the send-off.
The statement added, “Bliss was called by a local funeral home to rent out our facility for Goonew’s home-going ceremony.” ‘Bliss was never informed of what was about to happen. ‘Please keep Goonew’s family and friends in your prayers at this terrible time,’ we say, apologizing to anyone who may have been offended or disturbed.
While it is uncertain whether the figure on the stage was Morrow’s actual body based on the videos and images shot during the funeral, rapper Black Fortune, who performed at the occasion, insisted that it was.
‘No this ain’t no wax figure… my Brodie went out gansta,’ Black Fortune remarked on Instagram Stories.
Bliss did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment on Monday.
There have been no arrests in the Morrow shooting, and Prince George’s County police are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.