The memorial service—which took place in Long Beach, New York—began with a speech by Lil Peep’s grandmother Jenny Kastner. She told the crowd she received a lot of encouraging messages from the rapper’s fans and that she was “very touched by how many of them really [understood] him.” Kastner went on to read a couple of fan letters, the first of which praised Lil Peep (real name Gus Ahr) for being so open and accessible to his fanbase. The second message focused on the rapper’s uniqueness and influence on the world.
“He wasn’t the modern-day Kurt Cobain, by the way. He is the first and only Lil Peep,” Kastner read from the letter. "His kindness will live on.”
Lil Peep’s mother, Liza Womack, took the stage moments later, recounting a conversation she had with her son Oskar shortly after Lil Peep died.
“One of the things Oskar said to me was, ‘Momma, just think of what he accomplished in barely 21 years […] Most people never get to do in their entire lifetime what Gus did in 21 years,’” Womack recalled. “[…] Gus did it. He lived his own life on his own terms. He was a stubborn, driven, talented, crafty, observant, and tender young man. Gus was also vulnerable.”
Womack went on to speak about her son’s view of the world, and how he refused to conform to society’s expectations. She said he began to display his rebellion by getting a tattoo, which led to another tattoo, and another, and many more after that. The more he looked like an outsider, the more he was treated like an outsider, his mother explained.
“Years later, Gus told me that it was easy to tell the difference between the people who saw his tattoos when they looked at him, and the people who saw him [for who he was],” Womack said, before encouraging others to look beyond superficial observations. […] Please do not make assumptions about people or events in ignorance […] Try to step outside of your own box and open your mind to new ideas. My sweet Lil Peeper is gone now, but he has surely left us a lot of wonderful material to review and consider […] I am so proud of him. You have no idea.”
You can watch the full memorial service, which included speeches by friends and colleagues, in the video above.