Thousands packed the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on April 11, all hoping to pay respects to the late Nipsey Hussle. There were many celebrities among the throng of family, friends, and fans who gathered to mourn the slain rapper. Cassie, who is a close friend of Nipsey’s longtime girlfriend, Lauren London, was one of the first to arrive. Master P and Russell Westbrook were also spotted arriving to the Staples Center for the service early on. Snoop Dogg and Big Boi are making remarks at the event, while Stevie Wonder is performing. The massive celebration began at 10:00 a.m. local time, and in addition to those who were able to get a ticket to go inside, there were also thousands lining the streets outside the arena.
Of course, not everyone who wanted to attend the service could make it to LA to do so, including Barack Obama, who wrote a statement that was read by Karen Civil. “I’ve never met Nipsey, but I’ve heard his music through my daughters and after his passing I had the chance to learn more about his transformation and his community work,” the message said.”While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood, where he grew up, and only see gangs, bullets and despair, he saw potential. He saw home. He saw a community that, even though its flaws, taught him to always keep going. His choice to invest in that community — rather than to ignore it — to build a skilled training center, a co-working space in Crenshaw, to lift up the Eritrean American community….he set an example for young people to follow and is a legacy worth celebration. I hope his memory inspires more good work in Crenshaw and communities like it. Michelle [Obama] and I send our sympathies to Lauren, Emani, Cross, and his whole family and to all of those who love Nipsey.”
The 33-year-old Nipsey — born Ermias Asghedom – was fatally shot on March 31. His alleged killer, Eric Holder, 29, reportedly approached and spoke with Nipsey and two other men outside the rapper’s Marathon Clothing store on the corner of Crenshaw and Slauson Ave. “Based on witness statements and the background of those that we’ve identified, we believe this to be a dispute between Mr. Hussle and Mr. Holder,” LAPD police chief, Michel R. Moore, said, per the New York Times. “We believe they were known to each other.”
News of Nipsey’s death spread quickly, and many stars publicly mourned a young life cut down way too soon. “You were having the best run and I was so happy watching from distance fam nobody ever talks down on your name you were a real one to your people and to the rest of us,” Drake wrote online. “I’m only doing this here cause I want the world to know I saw you as a man of respect and a don.”
“RIP Nipsey,” John Legend wrote. “He was so gifted, so proud of his home, so invested in his community. Utterly stunned that he’s gone so soon.” “Real emotions and feelings rights now,” Kevin Hart added. “Fuck man…u have always been a good dude…I’m so sorry…RIP man.” “This doesn’t make any sense!” wrote Rihanna. “My spirit is shaken by this! Dear God may His spirit Rest In Peace and May You grant divine comfort to all his loved ones!”
Nipsey’s death prompted widespread sorrow in Southern Los Angeles. Not only was he a beloved rapper in the hip-hop community, but he was also highly regarded as a community member. He worked hard to give back to the neighborhood that raised him, helping to fund a shared workspace/STEM center. “I ain’t in cars going on missions no more, I ain’t in the spot,” he said in 2018, per The New York Times. “I’m on a radio run, dropping my album, you know what I mean, building businesses, employing my homeboys, you know what I mean, and paying taxes.”
Nipsey is survived by his longtime partner, Lauren, and their song, Kross. Nipsey also had a daughter, Emani Asghedom, from a previous relationship. He is also survived by his brother Semiel, sister Samantha Smith, and his mother and father.