By Sadef Ali Kully
Surrounded by a heavy NYPD presence, the wake and funeral of upcoming rapper Lionel “Chinx” Pickens, a member of the group Coke Boys, was held Tuesday at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral in Jamaica.
More than 2,000 family members, friends and fans gathered to pay respects to the beloved rapper, who came from Far Rockaway, and joined in singing “Lord, I lift your name on high” at the beginning of the service.
Mourners, including rapper French Montana, paid their respects at the open casket wake where Pickens was dressed in a gray suit and surrounded by white roses. His widow, Janelli Caceres, wore white jeans and a white shirt with the words “S.I.P Baby Chinx” on the back.
After the processional, his manager Doug Ellison spoke about the life Pickens had lived and legacy he had left behind.
The president of the New York City Correction Officers Benevolent Association, Norman Seabrook and cousin of Pickens, who was fatally shot on May 17 in Briarwood, spoke about stopping the violence. He said that today the community had lost one person but eventually when the murderer is caught and sentenced to prison, that was another kind of loss, “There are two lives that have and will be lost,” he said.
Thirty-one year old, Lionel Pickens, who was known by his rap name Chinx, was shot to death in the early hours May 17 at 84th Drive and Queens Boulevard in Briarwood. Police are still searching for the killer. Pickens and his friend were in a Porsche, according to police, when another car pulled up to the driver’s side and shot at Pickens and his friend, Antar Alziadi. Pickens was hit over a dozen times, authorities said.
The rapper was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he died. Alziadi was hit more than once and he is currently recovering from his wounds, according to police. There have been no arrests and the investigation was ongoing, police said.
The Rev. Dollene Palmer from the Brotherhood Baptist Church in Brooklyn gave the eulogy.
“The home of all homes, the perfect home above, in this perfect home there is fellowship, there is no struggle, there is no pain, there is no sadness. Lionel’s happiness on Earth is nothing compared to the joy he feels now.”
Pickens grew up in Far Rockaway and was remembered by his family as someone who had a great sense of humor. By the time he turned 15, he began to pursue a career in the music industry. His road in the music industry led to his joining the Coke Boys record label, founded by Montana, the CEO of Cocaine City Records. Pickens released his first solo album, “Hurry Up & Die Vol 1: Get Ya Casket On” in 2009 and collaborated with Montana.
French Montana, who sat front and center with the Pickens family and held his son, had taken responsibility for all his funeral arrangements, according to an official source.
Pickens leaves behind his wife and three children, his mother, stepfather, one sister, three brothers and his grandparents. His aunt Marilyn Mungin said, “He also leaves behind many relatives, friends and an immeasurable number of fans and supporters.”
Outside of the funeral, NYPD officers were on the scene to protect mourners. One officer said the department did not want a repeat incident of a recent Brooklyn funeral shoot-out.
“We gotta learn to love one another. We gotta support one another and give back to our community,” said Kenny Carter, the president of Fathers Alive in the Hood, about the ripple effect of a loss such as Pickens. “It takes the heart out of the community.”
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull