Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Olivia Grange, recalled the sterling contribution of broadcaster and producer Arif Cooper during his thanksgiving service at the Webster Memorial United Church in Kingston on Friday.
Cooper reportedly collapsed while on the job at a party at the Police Officers Club in St Andrew on March 5. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
"Arif is one of Jamaica's outstanding personalities who has left us suddenly and at such a relatively young age," she told the gathering of friends, family and supporters of the Cooper family.
She said “Arif was the personification of music” and hailed his public genius, his versatility, his mentorship to upcoming artistes, and his 'gentle' personality.
"Arif's very name was inspired by the musical term, riff, which means a simple tune which is used as a pattern to create more complicated musical patterns. Not ironically, his father, Ibo, named his son after this term and called him Arif, am I right, Ibo?" Minister asked.
"His life's work is therefore foretold in his name, so Arif followed his father's footsteps into music and made his own name here in Jamaica and on the international scene. Arif would come to make musical patterns so intense that they would take Jamaican dancehall by storm," Minister said.
Minister Grange said that Arif left a “legacy that will continue to inspire and influence musicians the world over.”
Grange offered her heartfelt condolences to Arif's parents, Ibo and Joy Cooper.
"Death is inevitable and we're never ever prepared when it happens. We the older ones have a responsibility to ensure the next generation is prepared. You have done well in preparing your son and you have continued to prepare others. We share your pain and your sorrow and ask Jah to give you all the strength you need, one love, blessings," Minister Grange concluded.
Musical tributes were delivered by Phebe Ann Harvey and Veliya Espeut, while dancer Arraya Gomes performed a modern dance piece to the song, Place For People Like You.
One of the reflections was delivered by his friend, Sean Newell, who recalled the time when Joy went on tour with Ibo and the children had the house for themselves.
"We would do road, from Monday morning, we start to plan which party we going to. Monday night to Sunday night, consecutively for the three months we were there. It was fun, me Arif, Ronnie, Royden and we just go out every night," he said.
Scott Dunn, a cousin of Arif Cooper, spoke about the importance of family during his reflection.
"We always found time to chat about family, his kids were the world to him. over the last couple of years, I have had a chance to build a relationship with Adam and Aaron. As they have grown older, I get to be the cool uncle they hang out with, when Aaryn makes it onto the road, I get to be the grumpy uncle who makes sure no boys don't come over," he said, injecting a moment of levity into the sombre proceedings.
"I guess people think that the seasons of relationship are now over but there is one more season, and this is probably the most important season and that's to build on Arif's legacy. He has left a wonderful legacy and I am going to make sure that as long as I have breath, Arif Cooper will never be forgotten. Arif, I love you, rest in peace," Dunn said.
Arif's siblings, Arianna, Abean and Akiri delivered a heartfelt remembrance. Arianna, who grew up with Arif as his closest sibling, admitted that her blood pressure soared to 179 over 99 since Arif's death.
She spoke eloquently of Arif's love for different genres of music and dedication to his craft which showed up early in the “eclectic ear of a 6-year-old.”
"To make people happy was a life purpose to him," Arianna said.
The eulogy was delivered by Patrick Atkinson.