Lauren London & Nipsey Hussle
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
Nipsey Hussle's Memorial Service Had Powerful Statements From Barack Obama, Kendrick Lamar & More
On April 11, the people of Los Angeles gathered to celebrate the late rapper and community activist Nipsey Hussle, with over 21,000 people joining his memorial service at Staples Center in downtown L.A. The memorial was livestreamed with countless Nipsey fans far and wide tuning in and sharing messages on social media with the hashtag #NipseyHussleForever.
Despite the huge space left behind by Hussle's death, which has shaken his community in South L.A., not to mention his family and closest friends, the messages during his service were deeply inspirational and hopeful.
Karen Civil, Hussle's longtime friend and marketing manager, held back tears while reading a touching letter from former President Barack Obama:
"While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope. He saw a community that, even through its flaws, taught him to always keep going. His choice to invest in that community rather than ignore it—to build a skills training center and a coworking space in Crenshaw; to lift up the Eritrean-American community; to set an example for young people to follow—is a legacy worthy of celebration. I hope his memory inspires more good work in Crenshaw and communities like it."
Many of Hussle's family and friends spoke during the memorial, including both his mother and father. "I'm very proud of my son," his mother Angelique Smith said. "My son, Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was a great man."
Lauren London, Hussle's longtime girlfriend and mother to their two-year-old son, Kross Asghedom, read a heartfelt text message she had sent to Hussle back in January.
"I want you to know I feel real joy in my heart when I'm around you…you have encouraged me and inspired me to reach higher," she read from the message. She added, "His soul was majestic, the strongest man I ever knew. He was completely self-taught, always seeking knowledge."
Fellow L.A. rapper Kendrick Lamar, who collaborated with the late rapper on "Dedication," from Hussle's debut LP Victory Lap, also shared a moving message that was included in the book. He recalled the first time the pair met, on tour in 2009.
"I watched a young, ambitious black male orchestrate fellowship amongst the men around him on that tour. Determined to execute one thing–and that was Greatness. Greatness in knowledge, greatness in wealth, and greatness in self," Lamar wrote.
Another L.A. hip-hop icon, Snoop Dogg, took to the stage at Staples to offer support for Hussle's family and to share words for his friend. "For those who knew Nipsey Hussle personally, he had nothing but love for every single gang member no matter the neighborhood," he said.
"It is a heartbreak to again lose a member of our family. It is a heartbreak because it’s so unnecessary," he said. "It is so painful to know that we don’t have enough people taking a position that says: Listen, we must have stronger gun laws. It is unacceptable. It is almost like the world is becoming blind."
Following the memorial, where Hussle's casket sat onstage during the event, a 25-mile funeral procession is set to take place through L.A., stopping at his business and place of death, The Marathon Clothing store.
Rest In Power, Nipsey Hussle.