Ne-Yo calls George Floyd's death a "sacrifice" during funeral dividing fans

10 June 2020, 15:31

The singer thanked Floyd for "changing the world" before singing an acapella performance of Boyz II Men's 'It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday'.

Ne-Yo delivered an emotional performance at George Floyd's funeral in Houston, Texas yesterday (June 9), to honour the life of the 46-year-old who died last month.

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Floyd was killed in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis after former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, sparking worldwide protests.

Ne-Yo tearfully sang through a stunning rendition of Boyz II Men's 'It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday'.
Ne-Yo tearfully sang through a stunning rendition of Boyz II Men's 'It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday'. Picture: Getty

The 'So Sick' singer joined Floyd's family, as well as celebrities including Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, to say goodbye to Floyd at his final funeral, which took place at the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston.

Ne-Yo, 40, delivered a short speech before launching into a stunning acapella rendition of Boyz II Men's 'It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday' during the televised service.

"50 states are protesting at the same time, this man changed the world. He changed the world for the better," he began.

"I just want to personally thank George Floyd for the sacrifice so that my kids can be alright later on. I appreciate the sacrifice my brother, I genuinely do."

Ne-Yo greets the family of George Floyd at the funeral service for Floyd in Houston, Texas.
Ne-Yo greets the family of George Floyd at the funeral service for Floyd in Houston, Texas. Picture: Getty

The singer is father to four children - Madilyn, 9, Mason, 8, Shaffer, 4, and Roman, 1. He added, "Much love and strength to the family of George Floyd. Much love and strength to the families here of anybody that’s been lost."

During his performance, Ne-Yo choked up and was visibly upset, taking time to compose himself while the audience encouraged him to continue singing.

However, after the service aired, some users took to social media to criticise Ne-Yo's choice of words when referring to Floyd's death as a "sacrifice" during his speech.

"Ne-yo deadass called George Floyd’s death a sacrifice. You have one of the best pens ever, but you fixed your lips to call this humiliating murder a sacrifice????? Disgusting," said one.

However, others defended the Ne-Yo's message in response to the backlash, while others argued that while his wording was questionable, his intentions were pure.

"People mad at Ne-Yo for saying "I just want to personally thank George Floyd for his sacrifice, so that my kids can be all right later on." Many of those same people often thank Jesus for his sacrifice for dying on the cross. C'mon fam, y'all know what he meant," said one.

"Was Ne-Yo wrong? Yes. Was it malicious and bad intentioned? No. Sometimes you gotta take the intention out of something when you're correcting. But make no mistake, George Floyd didn't sacrifice. He was murdered. I get what he was trying to say, but wrong word choice," said another.

Last week, it was confirmed that all four former police officers involved in the death Floyd have been charged. Chauvin, 42, has had charges against him upgraded from third-degree murder to second-degree murder, and the other three officers in connection with the killing will also be charged.

Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

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