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A tragic loss

Pharrell Williams says speaking at the funeral of his cousin Donovon Lynch was one of the hardest things

“It’s not just the loss of life. It’s also the cause of the loss of life,” Williams says

Pharrell Williams and his family are mourning the tragic loss of Donovon Lynch, Williams’ 25-year-old cousin shot dead by the police. “We had to bury my cousin on my birthday,” the musician and philanthropist told Town and Country. “It was bittersweet,” Williams added. “The way he died was bitter. Where he is right now is sweet.”

Lynch died in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on March 26, and according to Williams speaking at the funeral was one of the hardest things. “I wasn’t able to deliver the speech with the fire and intention I wanted,” he says. “Because I was just choked with emotion.”

After the shooting, the police department gave different versions of what happened that day. To date, there is no footage of the incident because the body camera of the officer was never activated. “It’s not just the loss of life. It’s also the cause of the loss of life,” Williams says. “And it’s a much larger problem, you know?”

Rev. William J. Barber, a senior pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Goldsboro, North Carolina, said the circumstances raise too many questions. “When a man doing as good as Donovon Lynch is shot and killed there is a mandate for truth no matter what color the officers are,” he said. “The people can handle the truth but we will settle for nothing less.”

The 48-year-old star and his family are demanding a federal investigation. “As a Black person, when you’re born in this country, you immediately feel a much heavier gravity,” he says. “The gravity is one that we see in our rules and regulations and laws. We see it in the lack of options. We see it in what we’re fed, what is marketed to us. We see it in broken educational systems.”

“Knowing that if Donovon had been white he wouldn’t have gotten shot multiple times and left in the street for an inhumane amount of time, ’til the next morning, no gun in hand—that’s gravity. The race of the officer doesn’t pertain to the conversation, because if Donovon had been white they would have never shot him like that.”

Williams still has hope for the future. “So there is gravity. And there, too, is hope that things will change.” As reported by the publication, the singer is sad. “I’m still processing. I don’t really have a lot of answers at the moment,” he says. “I think I’ve been so sad over this past week because I don’t know what I’m doing.”

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