NEW YORK — Rap mogul Diddy and the Rev. Al Sharpton will speak at late rapper Heavy D’s funeral Friday, and BET Networks plans a tribute for him at the Soul Train awards.

Diddy said in a statement that he was “heartbroken by the passing of my dear friend.”

“He was a wonderful human being, who inspired and paved the way for a Hip Hop generation,” the statement said. “We were like brothers — I will miss him more than words can express.”

A private funeral for the rap legend will be held at the historic Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, just north of New York City.

Heavy D, born Dwight Arrington Myers, died at a Los Angeles hospital last week after collapsing outside his home. He was 44.

The New York-born rapper was the titular member of Heavy D and the Boyz, which had hits with “Now That We Found Love,” “Who’s the Man” and “Somebody for Me.” He was one of the genre’s top stars in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

BET also announced Monday that the Soul Train Music Awards in Atlanta will pay tribute to Heavy D, with Curtis Blow, Naughty by Nature, Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh, DJ Eddie F, Whodini and Daddy-O of Stetsasonic participating.

Heavy D’s family has launched the Heavy D and Xea Myers Fund, named in honor of the rapper and his daughter, who’s 11 years old. The family said it was devastated by his death.

“Though Hev will most notably be remembered for his work both behind-the-scenes and in the forefront, he will always be remembered by us as a generous soul who remained humble and unselfish till his final days,” the family said in a statement.

Mary J. Blige, who started her career on Uptown Records, the label on which Heavy D released most of his music and of which he became president, called the late rapper an “angel and protector.”

“He was one of the people in my life who always had something inspiring and encouraging to say,” she said. “He was so joyful and optimistic. … His talent brought so much joy to our lives. I love you and miss you, Heavy.”

 

 

Chelsea Clinton goes to work for NBC News

NEW YORK — Chelsea Clinton began work at NBC News on Monday, the second daughter of a former president at the network.

NBC said it had hired Clinton, 31, to work on projects for “NBC Nightly News” and Brian Williams’ newsmagazine, “Rock Center.” She’ll report stories for the feel-good “Making a Difference” series.

Former President George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager does stories for the “Today” show.

“People who imagine and implement solutions to challenges in their own lives, in their communities, in our country and in our world have always inspired me,” Clinton said.

Recent “Making a Difference” stories highlighted a 7-year-old boy raising money for a friend with cancer by racing go-karts, a marathon runner raising money for his mother who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and rock star Bon Jovi opening a restaurant where people who cannot pay for meals can do volunteer work to earn food.

Lawsuit says LaBelle hurled curses and water

NEW YORK — R&B diva Patti LaBelle hurled curses — and half a bottle of water — at a woman and her 18-month-old daughter after a dust-up over parenting in an apartment building lobby, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Kevin and Roseanna Monk live in a Manhattan building where the Grammy Award-winning singer stayed for a time while appearing in the Broadway musical “Fela!” last year, said the Monks’ attorney, Samuel L. Davis.

He said LaBelle chastised Roseanna Monk for letting the toddler take some steps away from the mother as she grappled with some luggage and a car seat in the building’s lobby on the afternoon of Nov. 11, 2010.

After Monk scooped up the child and told LaBelle it was none of her business, the singer threw water on them from a bottle she was carrying and then launched into an obscenity-filled tirade, he said.

LaBelle’s publicists and lawyer didn’t immediately respond to the lawsuit.