WASHINGTON (WXIN/NEXSTAR) — Videos showing the corpse of a Maryland rapper on display at a Washington, D.C., nightclub have people outraged on social media, but his family members are defending the unorthodox celebration of life.
Markelle Morrow, 24, who recorded under the name Goonew, was shot and killed on March 18, according to Prince George’s County Police.
Social media videos recorded Sunday at his funeral, named The Final Show, captured the music artist’s body, clad in jeans, an Amiri sweatshirt, jewelry, glasses and a crown, propped up on the stage at Bliss Nightclub, according to TMZ.
The reaction of audience members appears mixed, with some dancing while others stare stone-faced at the stage, seemingly struggling to process what they are seeing.
“Our generation is so weird, and people not even fazed by a dead corpse in the club like this,” one person tweeted. “Rip Goonew but I would never set up funeral arrangements like this.”
“I don’t know who the rapper Goonew was,” another tweeted. “The fact y’all had his dead body propped up at a club is very disrespectful and weird … “
The rapper’s own relatives defended the farewell, however, saying that it was exactly how they wanted to honor him.
“For all the negatives, people probably don’t even know nothing about us,” Morrow’s mother, Patrice Morrow, told WTTG. “They have no idea. People just saying what they want to say and that’s fine. That’s perfectly fine. I’m pleased with how I sent my son away. I wish people would just let me grieve in peace.”
Morrow’s sister, Ariana Morrow, said the family is just trying to block out the negative reactions to the event.
“They’re like, I know his mama wouldn’t approve of that,” Ariana Morrow said. “Yeah, she did, she was on stage with us.”
Bliss Nightclub apologized for the now-viral funeral in an Instagram post, stating:
“Our deepest condolences to Goonew’s family, friends, and fans. Bliss was contacted by a local funeral home to rent out our venue for Goonew’s home-going celebration. Bliss was never made aware of what would transpire. We sincerely apologize to all those who may be upset or offended. Please keep Goonew’s family and friends in your prayers at this difficult time.”
As of Tuesday, Morrow’s death was still an open homicide case. Police have offered a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest, according to WBFF.