AceShowbiz - Ne-Yo didn't leave the best impression at George Floyd's funeral. The 40-year-old singer/songwriter catches flak with his remarks before delivering an a cappella rendition of Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" at the service on Tuesday, June 9.
"Fifty states are protesting at the same time. This man changed the world - changed the world for the better," he said before the crowd at the Fountain of Praise Church in George's hometown of Houston. "So, I just want to personally thank George Floyd for his sacrifice, so that my kids can be all right later on. I appreciate the sacrifice, my brother, I genuinely do."
But people took issue with his choice of word which dubbed George's death a "sacrifice." Criticizing the statement as inappropriate and tone-deaf, they took to Twitter to express their disagreement with the Grammy Award-winning artist.
"Sick.... So Sick of hearing y'all embarrass yourselves in these speeches," one person reacted to Ne-Yo's speech. Another commented, "I just saw why ne-yo was trending. Smh murder is not a sacrifice." Blasting the 40-year-old, a third user added, "Neyo just thanked George Floyd for his sacrifice so his kids can be alright... I want y'all to stick with your talents and shut up about everything else."
But some others have come to Ne-Yo's defense, believing that he meant no harm with his remark. "Sacrifice was the wrong word to use but that wasn't what he was trying to say and he actually said that before he started singing," one user claimed.
"In my opinion & in his defense, I think he meant that #georgefloyd's death will not be in vain," another similarly explained. "We need people who have leverage to be present and to speak up in times like these. I do agree with you though; Sometimes we don't do the best job communicating what we really mean."
His controversial remark aside, Ne-Yo delivered an emotional rendition of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday". He broke down twice during the performance while applause broke out the moment he began singing the song. "God bless," he said softly as he left the stage after he finished.
Rev. Al Sharpton, who gave awkward shout-out to celebrities in attendance at George's memorial service, also attended the funeral. "This was not just a tragedy, it was a crime," he said in his stirring eulogy. "This is a time that we need to understand that they are going to do everything they can to delay these trials to try to wear this family down. Until these people pay for what they did, we're going to be there with them. Because lives like George's do not matter until someone pays for taking their lives."
He continued calling for justice, saying, "Until we know the price for black life is the same as the price for white life, we're gonna keep coming back to these situations over and over again... We are not fighting some disconnected incidents. We are fighting an institutional systemic problem that has been allowed to premiate since we were brought to these shores. And we are fighting wickedness in high places."
Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum were spotted among mourners at the funeral, standing with the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Botham Jean and Eric Garner. They were all wearing white and face masks as safety precautions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.