American rapper Cardi B will pay the funeral costs for the 17 killed of the Bronx Touray Tower fire, mostly Gambians. Nearly all the victims were of Gambian or of West African descent. Cardi B also committed to paying the repatriation expenses for those victims who will be buried in Gambia.
Touray Tower in the Bronx: a community of Gambians
The Bronx high-rise apartment is known today as Touray Tower, named after the first Gambian to move there, Abdoulie Touray, back in the 1970s. Soon after, a whole community of Gambians joined him. As the New York Times reports, the building became a kind of homeland-in-exile for Gambians fleeing oppressive dictatorship and crushing poverty.
Nearly all the victims of the fire that broke out in the 120-unit apartment building on January 9th were of Gambian or of West African descent.
Read more: Gambian News
Fumes from the fire engulfed the building, and a spokesperson for the medical examiner said the victims died of smoke inhalation. Eight children were among the 17 killed— who ranged from 2 to 50 years old. They included parents and children, college students, and health-care and fast food workers.
Victims of the Touray Tower Fire
The 17 victims were identified by city officials as Isatou Jabbie, 31; Hagi Jawara, 47; Ousmane Konteh, 2; Sera Janneh, 27; Seydou Toure, 12; Haouwa Mahamadou, 5; Haji Dukary, 49; Haja Dukureh, 37; Mustapha Dukureh, 12; Mariam Dukureh, 11; Fatoumata Dukureh, 5; Fatoumata Drammeh, 50; Foutmala Drammeh, 21; Muhammed Drammeh, 12; Nyumaaisha Drammeh, 19; Omar Jambang, 6; and Fatoumata Tunkara, 43.
Sheikh Musa Drammeh, a religious leader and community activist in the Gambian immigrant community, led the memorial service for the victims, a mass funeral.
"People are dying because they lived in the Bronx’
“People are dying because they lived in the BronxThey will never achieve their American Dream because they lived in the Bronx. Their families will never ever see them again because they lived in the Bronx,” denounced Sheikh Musa Drammeh.
Cardi B will cover repatriation costs for Gambians victims
Cardi B, has also committed to paying the repatriation expenses for some of the Gambian victims whose remains would be sent for burial to Gambia, according to a statement from the office of New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
As a South Bronx native, Cardi B said she was “extremely proud to be from the Bronx” and that when she heard about the fire and the 17 people it killed, “I knew I needed to do something to help.”
“I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish that the families of the victims are experiencing,” she said in a statement, “but I hope that not having to worry about the costs associated with burying their loved ones will help as they move forward and heal.”
She concluded by sending her prayers and condolences to everyone affected by the incident.
In a video posted on Instagram to her 121 million followers, Cardi B pointed people to efforts by other artists and local radio stations to help cover expenses for the tenants displaced by the fire. “The funeral is just one of the things that they need help with,” said the world famous rapper.
“The resilience of this city reflects everyday New Yorkers who never turn their back on one another,” Mayor Adams said in a statement. “We are grateful for Cardi B, a real superstar on and off the mic, for granting some critical financial relief to families of the victims.”
A Mayor’s Fund has been collecting donations for affected families, which hasalready raised more than $2.5 million (2.21 Million euros)