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.”
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.
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.
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.”
Related:Facebook admits mistake with Diamond and Silk
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.
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.”
Silk described Diamond’s love for people, saying her sister would buy meals for the homeless and once surprised a pregnant waitress with gifts for her baby.
“I don’t care if you’re Black, white, polka dot, pinstripe or plaid,” Silk said. “She loved humanity.”
Related:Hoke County sisters ‘Diamond and Silk’ ride Trump campaign to Internet fame
In her speech, Silk also called out the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office, whose deputies, she said, mistreated her and her family after Diamond’s death. She accused deputies of entering the family home without a warrant to retrieve Diamond’s body and said she planned to file a complaint.
“Just because you’re dressed in blue doesn’t mean you get to abuse the power you have,” she declared.
Silk described the circumstances surrounding Diamond’s death, telling the audience the duo had just returned from their brother’s surprise birthday party and Diamond was in good spirits that day. Her younger sister was on the phone when she suddenly told Silk she couldn’t breathe, she said. Despite Silk and her husband calling 911 and performing CPR, paramedics were unable to revive Diamond.
“Something ain’t right,” Silk said.
She said her sister’s unexpected death was one of many around the country and called for the crowd to “pay attention” and investigate such deaths, asking, “Why are people suddenly falling dead?” Diamond’s cause of death has not been released.
Focus on Trump
One common theme of the night was praise from former President Trump, and Silk was no exception, saying he paid for the entire celebration and had been a great source of support before and after her sister’s death. Her compliments of Trump were met with cheers and applause, as was Silk’s announcement that the Chit Chat show would continue on Feb. 1 without a new cohost.
Trump was met with a standing ovation and chants of “USA!” as he took to the podium as the event’s final speaker. He called Diamond a “fantastic woman” and said his legacy would endure.
“The world has lost one of its brightest stars,” Trump said. “We’ve lost one of our purest hearts and that’s for sure.”
In between mentions of problems like inflation and illegal immigration that he claimed “common sense” like Diamond’s could fix, Trump shared anecdotes about Diamond, saying he discovered her when former First Lady Melania Trump showed him one of the duo’s YouTube videos.
Trump praised Diamond’s fearlessness, which he said was crucial in battling his opponent.
“We’re dealing with a vicious group of people,” he said. “They’re Marxists. They’re communists.”
Trump partially attributed his success in 2016 to Diamond and Silk and said Diamond was devoted to her country and reshaping it in what she believed was its decline. Although Diamond’s death was tragic, he said, it was important for his fans to celebrate his life and support Silk, who he said he would carry on Diamond’s legacy.
“Through the tears and the grief, let us celebrate this life because we know Diamond lived life as God intended,” he said. “Silk, we love you… Diamond, I love you.”
Public safety reporter Lexi Solomon can be reached at [email protected].
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