Trump honors Diamond and Silk at Fayetteville celebration of life

more:Trump to visit Fayetteville for celebration of life for Diamond of Diamond and Silk

more:Hoke County’s Lynnette ‘Diamond’ Hardaway, of famous Diamond and Silk, died at 51

The celebration of life for “Diamond” of the popular right-wing political duo Diamond and Silk filled Fayetteville’s Crown Theater with laughter, music and plenty of politics Saturday, including an appearance from former President Donald J. Trump.

Diamond, born Ineitha Lynette Hardaway, died Jan. 8 at age 51 at home in Hoke County. Diamond and her sister, “Silk” Herneitha Rochelle Hardaway, became popular on social media during Trump’s first campaign after they began to post pro-Trump videos on YouTube. The duo was known for their quick wit and bold takedowns of their opponents.

The roughly three-hour celebration began at 3:15 pm with a pre-show broadcast by Rose Tennent, a conservative talk show host, and featured musical performances from the North Carolina Rally Team Choir, Whey Jennings and The Everett Family Gospel Ensemble. The more than 150 attendees received patriotic programs bearing Diamond’s portrait and a list of “Diamondisms” bearing some of her most popular catchphrases, such as “Don’t get it twisted” and “Dump the rest of those chumps and vote for Donald J. Trump.”

Lynette "Diamonds" Hardaway, left, and Rochelle "Silk" Richardson, from Raeford, spoke at a rally for President Donald Trump in Fayetteville on Sept.  9, 2016. Hardaway, 51, died Monday.  She was celebrated at a memorial at the Crown Theater in Fayetteville on Saturday.

Related:Hoke County’s Lynnette ‘Diamond’ Hardaway, of famous Diamond and Silk, died at 51

The pre-show also included a prerecorded message from Ben Carson, former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Trump. In the video, Carson praised Diamond’s “courage” and said he was unafraid to share views he believed would be largely unpopular with the Black community.

In between speakers, attendees viewed a slideshow from Diamond and Silk’s various public appearances and social media postings, including two video clips of the sisters casting former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly and mocking President Joe Biden for falling off his bike.

People waiting in line for the celebration of life event for Lynette "Diamonds" Hardaway at Crown Theater on Saturday, Jan.  21, 2023.

Loving remarks

Pastor Mark Burns opened the program with a prayer, encouraging the crowd to be happy about Diamond’s legacy rather than mourning her death. North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson spoke next, telling the audience he was proud of Diamond and Silk for representing conservative thought in the Black community. Diamond was wise, Robinson said.

“She was North Carolina in all its best forms,” Robinson said. “When we remember her name, let us remember her name because of her wisdom, her strength and her family.”

Tressie Ham, an executive at Diamond and Silk’s company and a friend of the sisters, read Diamond’s obituary and shared some of her favorite memories of her, describing how Diamond’s smile and passion left their mark on people. Lynne Patton, a longtime friend and associate of the Trumps, also offered remarks, tearing up as she spoke of how loved Diamond was.

A motorcade carrying former President Donald Trump arrives at the celebration of life for Lynette "Diamonds" Hardaway at Crown Theater on Saturday, Jan.  21, 2023.

Lara Trump, the wife of Trump’s son Eric, said she got to know Diamond and Silk after seeing the duo’s videos online and inviting them to join the “Women for Trump” bus tour during Trump’s first presidential campaign. She described Diamond as a larger-than-life personality who was always laughing and always open to take pictures with fans.

“We all know the qualities that make a diamond. They shine, they sparkle, they are radiant, they are rare,” said Lara Trump, a native of Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington. “My friends, we all have the opportunity to be in the presence of the most brilliant diamond of all. We love you, Diamond.”

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Mike Lindell, the founder of My Pillow and Frank Social, where Diamond and Silk’s show “Chit Chat Live” is hosted, grew emotional as he spoke about Diamond, tearing up toward the end of his speech. He was referred to Diamond as one of God’s “handpicked leaders” for “the battle between good and evil” and said he instantly became friends with the sisters when they met for an interview.

Diamond’s son, Paris Hardaway, told the crowd his mother was a true patriot and thanked Donald Trump for providing Diamond and Silk with opportunities.

“Don’t think for one moment that you’ve heard the last of Diamond because her legacy will continue to live out through my Aunt Silk and the Hardaway family,” Paris Hardaway said.

People waiting in line for the celebration of life event for Lynette "Diamonds" Hardaway at Crown Theater on Saturday, Jan.  21, 2023.

Other members of Diamond’s family spoke of her sharp tongue and big heart, referring to her as “Big Bad Lyn,” a nickname she earned for her tough attitude. Gesturing to the pair of heeled and bejeweled booties on display on the stage, Silk said she would never be able to fill her sister’s shoes because she was so unique.

“She’s our magnificent Diamond, shining bright in the heat of the night,” she said. “She didn’t go along just to get along. She stood on her principles and dared anyone to move her off of her center.”