André 3000 Explains Why He Declined to Play Flute at Virgil Abloh’s Funeral

André 3000 forgoed the chance to play flute at Virgil Abloh‘s memorial service. Despite the one-half of Outkast being spotted with his trusty instrument in Japan and airports, 3000 declined to perform at Abloh’s funeral, which he revealed on NPR on Tuesday morning. On the program, 3000 announced his debut solo album, New Blue Sun, also his first album in 17 years, which will release on Nov. 17. On the LP, 3000 will play the flute entirely.

We were having this conversation, me and Guillermo [Martinez, who makes his flutes], and he was like, ‘I get asked to play at funerals now,'” 3000 told NPR’s Rodney Carmichael. “And I was like, whoa, that’s crazy, because I was recently asked to play at a funeral. And I denied it.”

The 48-year-old added that the funeral he was asked to play for was Abloh’s, shortly after the fashion designer passed away on Nov. 28, 2021. The Chicago native succumbed to cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

“When Virgil [Abloh] passed, his family asked would I play at the funeral and I denied it, but only because I felt like I would be a distraction. I don’t know, I just felt like it would have taken away from the moment and I only knew Virgil through texts and a few conversations,” 3000 said. “So I couldn’t pretend like I knew him that well. I was honored that the family asked me to play at the funeral, but I couldn’t. And so when I told Guillermo, he was like, ‘Yeah, sometimes you have to look at it now as a responsibility to play. They asked you to play for a reason.'”

3000 last flexed his flute chops on select tracks from the Son Lux-produced OST for Oscar-winning film Everything Everywhere All at Once. In his NPR interview, 3000 added that he approached the instrument after his mother’s passing in May 2013, just one day after the artist’s 38th birthday.

“When my mom passed, I had this urge to play. But I wasn’t even playing flute back then. I think I was more on guitar at that point. And I just didn’t,” he said. “I don’t think I could go through with it. But yeah, there’s something about it … playing at funerals. I think New Orleans has it best. Like, I think the way we do funerals, I think it’s really antiquated and sad. I think we need to party more.”