I'm in Trinidad doing Trini tings!
Most importantly I came here to say farewell and give Last Rites to my beloved Uncle Dawud Khalifa who was a one of a kind man. He was creative, intellectual, eclectic, exuberant, incredibly handsome, kind, sharp and so many things. Fashionable. He was a straight, gorgeous man who was a cross between Bob Marley, Lenny Kravitz and Prince. Imagine thaT! He wore leather pants in the 80's, his 20's and 30's, and had the dopest leather jumper. Everything he wore looked great and most of it he designed. He was tall and strong, had locs, stood out, was suave and also of the 1st Muslims in my family (becoming Muslim around 18 yo) of his generation. He had presence.
Made in the Caribbean- Me wearing the last dress my Uncle Dawud made for me while living in Trinidad. He sent it to me in NY.
He was a patternmaker, fashion designer and artist. I wore the most recent dress he gifted me to his funeral. I feel I got the best of him. Not everyone, and perhaps rarely is there the opportunity to say it was all love.
I feel incredibly blessed to have been in the position of niece! I've always felt 100% clear about that. I feel like Uncle was his best role ever. Uncles and Aunts-nieces and nephew relationships have such great potential to be incredibly special. Uncles rarely have to discipline us, they come by whenever and sometimes often and it's special. Sleepovers by my Uncle was like a wonderful getaway into an exciting life- here's this new design, here's these artists I'm listening to and on an on. For me my uncle was like an easygoing father/ sibling/ bestie wrapped all into one. He was often-times even like a bridge to my parents because Uncles and Aunts hold sacred your relationship with your parent and your parents interests and the sacred trust you've given them.
Many people could tell you wild stories about my uncle. He was in a word- himself. Also a trouble-maker, rebel and then some. We had a special and loving Uncle-niece relationship where like most of my Uncles he spent so much quality time with me and my sisters. I will miss him while at the same time I feel a peaceful sense of closure I wasn't sure I'd get. I accepted the opportunity to eulogize him at his Janaza when the Imam asked if anyone wanted to speak and it brought me peace to make it clear what some of the best of him looked like.
Touching his beard for the last time helped. Being involved by throwing Trini-soil on his casket, and praying for him every step of the way helped. Spending time with other passionate, artistic Trinis later helped too.
I store him deep in my heart now. He taught me so much and was 100% influential in me becoming a fashion designer. I will cherish every garment he made for me, the fashion equipment he gave me, the conversations and experiences, the help along the way. The idea of freedom and a passionate life that he planted in me by his example. I also cherish that Allah gave me other strengths, blessings, support, gifts, tools, talents and examples to help make dreams and talents blossom.
Long live KHALIFA! Allah except him and forgive him of his sins.
So many lessons from his life. The good. The bad. Allah loved him enough to make him ill in the later part of his life and expiate him of his sins.
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