Rapper French Montana has spoken out about the controversy surrounding the funeral of Chinx Drugz, whose real name was Lionel Pickens, after some fans accused Montana of abandoning the slain New York rapper’s family in their time of need. Montana, who founded Coke Boys Records – the record label that represented Pickens – was Pickens’ close friend and mentor. The backlash against Montana stemmed from a GoFundMe page created in the wake of Pickens’ death that was meant to cover the cost of Pickens’ funeral, expected to take place Tuesday in the New York City borough of Queens. Many of Pickens’ followers thought it was inappropriate for the New York rapper’s family and fans to have to foot the bill for the arrangements.
Montana, whose real name is Karim Kharbouch, responded to the criticism via his Instagram account and reassured Pickens’ fans that the rapper’s arrangements had been covered. “I hate having to address the negativity during this time of grief. It is irrelevant,” the 30-year-old Moroccan-born American rapper wrote. “I pray that everyone would consider that real people lost a real man, friend, brother, father before spreading hateful speech. His funeral is taken care of. My brother is in good hands. If you don’t have nothing positive to say keep it to your self [sic.]”
Pickens, 31, was killed May 17 in a drive-by shooting near Queens Boulevard and 84th Drive in Briarwood, Queens. He is survived by his wife and three children.
â€” darnell moore (@darnellmmusic) May 17, 2015
Pickens’ management team began a GoFundMe page for the slain rapper to raise money for his funeral. However, its description was amended to say that the money would go toward supporting the family instead of covering the arrangements. “A father, husband, son and brother, Chinx leaves behind a legacy of music for his fans,” the description reads. “He was truly a great life cut short. As Chinx’ extended family, please consider helping out his family during this devastating time. This fund will be established to provide some financial support for the tough road ahead.” Fans had raised more than $9,600 through the website by Tuesday.
The average funeral in the U.S. costs between $7,000 and $10,000, according to LearnVest. That includes the estimated $1,500 funeral director’s fee, $2,300 casket price and $1,500 for a headstone.
Montana appears well positioned to pay for the service. The rapper has raked in an estimated $8 million through his music ventures, according to Celebrity Net Worth.