Little Richard was remembered not only as a pioneer of the rock ‘n’ roll but as a generous man and of faith in a trade funeral at his alma mater, where he was buried on Wednesday.
The mourners gathered at the Oakwood University to pay their respects, many wearing masks and keeping to a few meters (feet) away in the office outdoor in the cemetery of the school.
“What I really remember of Richard were not his performances on the stage, who were certainly formidable, but Brother Richard… His incredible kindness, and his generosity with the people,” said university president Leslie Pollard, who knew the artist personally.
“I remember those of us around in Los Angeles, and that he had money in the trunk of their car. Why I had money in the trunk of your car? Only he knew it. But it took money and gave it to needy people”, said Pollard. “It was a very generous person and kind”.
He also spoke of the attentive that was the singer, who throughout his career has sold over 30 million records of those arising from such hits as “Tutti Frutti”, “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Keep a Knockin’”.
“Once Richard came to meet you, I will never forget,” said Pollard. “Remember your family, your mother, your father, your sisters, your brothers, who was a birthday… he Was really for the people”.
Richard died may 9 of cancer of the bones. He was 87 years old.
Their pastor, James Owens, said that he had rebaptized a year ago.
“We thank you, Lord, that he has given you your life,” he said. “We are very grateful that he is now buried in this consecrated ground of the historic campus of Oakwood University, from which have come so many talents african-americans, including yours. And we thank thee, Lord, for your desire to preach the word, to use his fame to spread the name of jesus Christ”.
Little Richard, whose real name was Richard Penniman, was one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll and, along with Chuck Berry and Fats Domino, helped to break down the barriers of color in the music charts and popularized what was once considered as a “music race”. His style hyperkinetic of playing the piano, together with his shrieks and hairstyle, it became a sensation improbable: a black man, a gay, celebrated throughout the united States during the conservative Eisenhower-era.
In his personal life, ranged between obscenity and religion, alternating between the Bible and its conduct and image, extravagant, with your eyeliner, mustache, ultra-thin and dressed in bright.
For decades it has been an influence for other musicians, from the Beatles (Paul McCartney mimicked the distinctive hooting of Richard) to David Bowie. More than 40 years after he came to the charts, Bruce Springsteen was singing “Good Golly Miss Molly” live.
Richard chose for his final resting Oakwood University, a historical house of studies black and Seventh-Day Adventist in the city of Huntsville, in northern Alabama.