A life-affirming photo crowns Richard Prince’s report for The Root about the memorial service held Monday for Michael J. Feeney (pictured). Feeney died suddenly at age 32 just as he was set to start working for CNN as an entertainment reporter.
The picture was taken from the pulpit of Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church by Sarah Glover, president of the National Association of Black Journalists. It was snapped right after she asked audience members to raise one hand and then the other if theirs was a life “deeply impacted” by Feeney. The unanimity of the response emblazoning Prince’s original Maynard Institute column and subsequent pick-up says it all.
Another highlight of the Feb. 8 service was an anecdote shared by Newsday’s Deon J. Hampton, a fraternity brother of Feeney’s. He recalled that when he was laid off in March 2011 from the Tulsa World, Feeney commanded him to come immediately to New York:
“Anybody who believes in God, raise your hand,” Hampton asked the crowd.
“God works in mysterious ways. For me, that angel was Mike. Mike pulled me from the ashes of nowhere,” Hampton continued. “He said, ‘Don’t worry about it, man, I’ll make a few calls for you.’ Nine days later, I had a job.”
The job was a short three-day tryout at The Record in Hackensack, N.J. But it enabled Hampton to write a front-page story about a controversial bear hunt.
A second service for Feeney was held Tuesday at the Community Baptist Church in Englewood. RIP.
[Photo via: youcaring.com]