An hour before the memorial service for Carlos "Shawty Lo" Walker began at noon on Saturday, the parking lot of Jackson Memorial Baptist Church was nearing capacity, and pews inside the spacious sanctuary were quickly filling with mourners. Three hours after it began, the service was still going on.
"Shawty Lo I knew every season of his life," said Bishop Dreyfus C. Smith, senior Pastor of Wings of Faith Worldwide Ministries, who delivered a powerful eulogy. "I knew a season I won’t mention because it don’t matter. I knew the season when he started D4L. I knew the season when he tried to rap a little bit."
He paid tribute to the man behind the music industry success, too.
"The Shawty Lo that I really respect is not a ring tone," Smith said. "It’s not the rap, it’s not the video, it’s not the dance. Shawty helped more people on the west side than most pastors and churches combined. Shawty Lo paid rent for people that didn’t pay him back, put food on people’s table that would have been hungry, put people on his payroll. Some earned it, some was just hanging on."
Referring to the 11 children who survive Walker, Smith said, "I know guys in this city that won’t take care of one child. He took care of y’all and some more."
Walker was born March 22, 1976 in Atlanta to Jozie Usher and Carl Lee Walker. He was preceded in death by his father and brother Quon Walker.
He died in a car accident after his 2016 Audi crashed through a guardrail on a ramp to Cascade Road off I-285. He died of “blunt force injury to the head,” the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office said.
He is survived by 11 children, who came together for a joint tribute. After sharing individually, they spoke as one: "He will always be our king." In one touching, emotional moment, the older children helped his youngest say goodbye to "Dada:"
Like the Friday night viewing, the memorial service was open to the public, and the crowd that turned out on Saturday was so large, fire marshals and deputies were on hand to monitor the facility.
The service featured prayers, tears and musical tributes, concluding with "When The Saints Come Marching In" and then a booming drum line.
The AJC is here along with Channel 2 and other media outlets, and we documented the service with church's permission.