It was a special night for Nipsey Hussle. The Grammy-nominated rapper has been resting in peace since losing his life at the young age of 33 on March 31, and his achievements and kind heart were commemorated with a posthumous humanitarian award at the 2019 BET Awards on June 23. Nipsey’s girlfriend, Lauren London, 34, took the stage to make the honor even sweeter. “Thank you guys for all the love and support,” she told the crowd at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Holding back tears, she then reminded the audience, “The Marathon continues again.” This was a reference to Nipsey’s Marathon Clothing Store, where he was tragically shot in front of.
Joining Lauren on stage was her and Nipsey’s son Kross, 2, Nipsey and Tanisha Foster’s daughter Emani, 10, in addition to Nipsey’s mother Angelique Smith, father Dawit Asghedom, grandmother Margaret Boutte, and Lauren’s other son, Cameron Carter. Nipsey’s mom, dad and grandmother all took turns on the mic as well. Marsha Ambrosius, DJ Khaled, YG and John Legend added to Nipsey’s tribute with a moving performance in honor of their past collaborator.
It was only appropriate that the award show set aside time to reflect on Nipsey’s contributions to his native South Los Angeles, as they were many — he purchased a strip mall to develop low income housing (where his Marathon Clothing Store is located), launched a co-working place and STEM center called Vector90, and renovated a roller rink and elementary school basketball court, according to an NPR interview from April 1. “As a prolific artist and leader, Nipsey Hussle was zealous about driving change for the betterment of his community, empowering and employing those in need and being an influential and highly respected leader,” BET’s head of programming, Connie Orlando, wrote in a statement. “His passing was a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry and to the culture.”
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This isn’t the first time Lauren has addressed a large crowd in honor of her soulmate, the first time being at Nipsey’s “Celebration of Life” memorial at LA’s Staples Center on April 11. “To Ermias [Nipsey’s real name], the love of my life, you know what it is,” the mother of two told the crowd of 21,000 mourners. “Grief is the final act of love. My heart hears you. I feel you everywhere. I’m so grateful that I had you. I love you beyond this earth and, until we meet again, the marathon continues.” She proved these vows with her latest tribute speech at the BET Awards, which you can watch above.