A life well lived - Arif Cooper remembered as life of the party, loving family man
Arif Cooper was more than a gifted entertainer whose music touched many hearts and souls. To his family members and friends who gathered at the Webster Memorial United Church in St Andrew last Friday to bid him farewell, Arif was the life of their party, a loving family man and confidant.
The disc jock 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.
Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports, Oliva 'Babsy' Grange, led tributes and hailed Arif as one of Jamaica's outstanding music personalities .
"Arif's very name was inspired by the musical term 'riff', which means a simple tune that is used as a pattern for creating more complicated musical patterns," the entertainment minister said.
"Not ironically, his father, Ibo, named his son after this musical term and called him Arif. His life's work was, therefore, foretold in his name. So Arif following his father's footsteps into music and making his own name here in Jamaica and on the international scene. Arif would come to make musical patterns so complicated and intense that they would take dancehall by storm," Grange added.
Siblings Arianne, Abean and Akiri were among the many persons who paid respects to the late entertainer. Akiri, Arif's youngest brother, said he was dependable, a good storyteller with a knack for telling jokes.
Arianne rolled back the curtains of memory as she shared stories of her brother's infinite love and kindness towards her. She recalled that during his prep school days, on the occasions when he was allowed to take a patty for lunch, Arif would "eat half and bring the other half home for me with a pocket full of sweets and a smile on his face".
Sean Newell, a childhood friend of the man who is affectionally called Supa Coop, said they met at age 10 or 11, and remained great friends until the end.
"Arif lived down the street from me, so it wasn't unusual for him to call me up and say 'Sean, what you doing? I'm coming over.' Then he would say 'I am bringing Sergeant Slaughter and Storm Shadow with me.' For people who don't know who this is, they are G.I Joes. That was our thing, that was our bond. He would come over and launch them from the coconut tree and argue whose action figure was the best," Newell recalled.
As a young man, Arif, the son of Ibo and Joy Cooper, poured his heart into his music, creating a beautiful legacy, which mourners hope will live for ever.
"We can find solace in the fact that Arif left us doing what he did best and that was music," Newell said.
Like others who gathered for Friday's send off, Newell said he wished he had one more chance "just to see him and tell him that I love him and how much he meant to me".