Nipsey Hussle's family and friends honored the late rapper by hosting a "Celebration of Life" memorial service Thursday at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Multiple speakers and performers had a hand in memorializing the Grammy-nominated musician,at age 33.
Funeral procession ends
The funeral procession ended at Angelus Funeral Home after a 25-mile procession through the city. Tens of thousands took to the streets to catch a glimpse of the procession, the Associated Press reported.
The hearse earlier paused at his clothing store, The Marathon. Onlookers threw flowers on the roof of the hearse and it moved through the crowd.
Master P calls Nipsey Hussle a "real soldier"
Master P spoke with Entertainment Tonight on Thursday, calling Nipsey Hussle a "real soldier."
"[He was] somebody whose light is gonna spread around the world forever," Master P said. "He touched so many people coming from hip-hop. I mean, he should have got this [recognition] when he was alive, with all the work that he's done."
Master P, who Nipsey considered an idol, said the late rapper is the community's angel now.
"It seems like God really has a glow over this guy. People are not mourning, people are like, 'You know what? It's time for a new beginning.' You be watching the gangs coming together for this guy. It's peace," he said.
"Bloods, Crips, coming together and walking around Crenshaw. We never expected to see something like that. That's how much love this man is loved around the world and in his own community."
25.5-mile funeral procession begins
The 25.5-mile funeral procession will begin at Staples Center and end at the Forest Lawn Cemetery. The procession will run through Inglewood, South Los Angeles and Watts, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation said in a statement.
"Expect delays and congestion in and around the event area," the department said.
Memorial service concludes
The three hour "Celebration of Life" memorial service for Nipsey Hussle has ended. The Los Angeles Police Department posted a message on Twitter stating they will assist crowds and traffic to ensure "everyone heads home safely."
Stevie Wonder calls for stronger gun laws
Legendary singer Stevie Wonder took the stage to sing "Rocket Love" before performing a rendition of "Tears in Heaven."
"It is a heartbreak to again lose a member of our family. It's a heartbreak because it's so unnecessary," he told the crowd, before condemning America's gun laws.
"We, to be a civilized nation, civilized world, we are still living in a time where ego, anger, jealousy, is controlling our lives. It is so painful to know that we don't have enough people taking a position that say, 'Listen, we must have stronger gun laws.' It's unacceptable."
Snoop Dogg: "We had the same spirit"
Legendary rapper Snoop Dogg honored Nipsey Hussle by speaking directly to his girlfriend, mother and father in attendance.
"Every time I saw Nip and Lauren out, they reminded of me and my wife. It was black excellence. You love to see it," he said.
When he spoke to Nipsey's father, he said, "You may have lost a son, but you picked up another son with me."
He then spoke to Nipsey's mother, "You gave us what we need, you gave us the sense and the purpose to let us know that it was all right. We want to thank you, mother, for making us strong and giving us our strength."
When he spoke of his late-friend, Snoop told the crowd, "We created a bond. We created something that was special."
"When met each other it was like a magnet coming together," he said. "We had the same spirit."
Lauren London shares text message to Nipsey: "You have inspired me to reach higher"
Lauren London, Nipsey Hussle's longtime girlfriend and the mother of one of his children, shared a text message that she wrote him while he was sleeping from earlier this year.
"Never was I prepared for anything like this so bear with me," she told the crowd as she reached the microphone. London then shared the text she wrote and sent to Nipsey while he was sleeping. She said she wanted him to wake up to it and that it was dated January 21, 2019.
"Ermias, I want you to know that I feel real joy in my heart when I'm around you. I feel safe around you, protected, like a forcefield around me when you're around. I'm totally myself when I'm around you."
"You've made me into more of a woman and given me the opportunity to really love a man," she continued reading. "You have inspired me to reach higher and I wouldn't want to go through this journey with anyone but you."
"You've been the greatest boyfriend to me. You're not perfect but I'd never ask you to be. You're the coolest guy in the world to me still. I love you so much, unconditionally. My truth to you is this: I'm never going to give up on you. My love and my devotion is to you."
After reading the text, London said, "My pain is for my two-year-old, who probably won't remember how much his dad loved him."
Nipsey Hussle's mother: "I'm very proud of my son"
Nipsey Hussle's mother, Angelique Smith, spoke at his memorial service on Thursday. Hussle's father, Dawit Asghedom, stood behind her as she spoke movingly about her son.
"Ermias was so close to me spiritually, I could feel him coming," she said. "I knew that I was going to get pregnant on my birthday and Ermias came."
"I felt spiritually within my soul as if Ermias was going to leave and I think that Ermias knew too," she said.
"I'm very proud of my son," she concluded toward the end of her speech "My son, Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was a great man."
During her speech, she also spoke of her spirituality to calm the crowd of thousands and give peace to their grief.
"I want to tell you that I stand a witness that everything is in perfect and divine order," she said. "I want to encourage you to choose a Vegan lifestyle. I want to encourage you to limit your use of alcoholic beverages and narcotic substances. I want to tell you that we come from royalty and regality," she added.
"I want to tell you that we are a very loving and kind and spiritual race of people. I want to tell you that we are very traumatized and we are very pressurized people."
Barack Obama's letter about Nipsey Hussle
A letter written by former President Barack Obama was read to the audience during Nipsey Hussle's memorial. Obama was not in attendance at the service but offered a tribute.
"I've never met Nipsey, but I've heard his music with my daughters," Mr. Obama wrote. "And after his passing, I've had a chance to learn about his community work."
"Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope. He saw a community that even through its flaws taught him to always keep going." Mr. Obama's letter concluded by saying Nipsey Hussle "set an example for young people to follow and his is a legacy of celebration."
After the letter was read, Louis Farrakhan, the 85-year-old leader of the Nation of Islam, gave an address to the audience. Read the full letter below.
Frank Sinatra's "My Way" plays during video tribute
A collection of photographs of Nipsey Hussle's life, from childhood to adulthood, were shared with the crowd at L.A.'s Staples Center as Frank Sinatra's "My Way" played to begin the memorial service. Thousands of fans have gathered inside the downtown Los Angeles arena to honor the late rapper.
The images included photographs of Nipsey Hussle -- born Ermias Asghedom -- as a little boy, as a teenager, as a young man with friends, as an up-and-coming rapper, and as a celebrity with famous athletes.
The service got underway about an hour later than scheduled, with a two scripture readings and an instrument prelude.
Nipsey Hussle memorial Order of Service
The Order of Service shows the scheduled speakers and performances. Nipsey Hussle's girlfriend Lauren London is listed among the family tributes, along with Isaiah Thomas, Snoop Dogg and LA radio DJ Big Boy.
- Prelude - Victory Lap
- Scripture - Minister Reid Rich
- Scripture -Pastor Shep Crawford
- Selection - Frank Sinatra - My Way
- Performance - Marsha Ambrosius - Fly Like A Bird
- Acknowledgements and Resolutions - Karen Civil
- Performances - Anthony Hamilton - Do You Feel Me
- Kids Tributes - Emani Asghedom, Kameron Oarter, Khalil Kimble, Kross Asgehdom
- Performance - Jhene Aiko - Eternal Sunshine
- Obituary - Adam Anderbrhan
- Eulogy - Pastor Shep Crawford
- Parting View - Nipsey Hussle - Real Big Tribute Video
- Angelique Smith
- Samuel Asghedom
- Lauren London
- Samantha Smith
- Dawit Asghedom
- Aenon Bowie
- Jorge Peniche
- Isaiah Thomas
- Steven Carless
- Keenon Jackson
- Jade Lesley
- Shanae Franklin
- Margaret Boutte
- James Simpson
- Snoop Dogg
- Big Boy
Sold-out crowd at Staples Center
Hussle's Instagram account announced the event in conjunction with the Staples Center earlier this week. The stadium has a capacity of more than 20,000 seats. Free tickets were made available on the Staples Center website, but all tickets for the event were quickly snapped up.
Service will be followed by a 25 mile funeral procession
Following the memorial, a 25.5 mile funeral procession will travel from Staples Center through the South Central Los Angeles neighborhoods of Inglewood and Watts, before ending at Angelus Funeral Home in the Crenshaw district. Nipsey Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, will be laid to rest at Forest Lawn cemetery.
The rapper's community impact
An outpouring of grief over Nipsey Hussle's killing spread through the Los Angeles community. Fans gathered around his clothing store for a vigil and artistic murals have appeared around L.A. to commemorate his life.
Aside from being a Grammy-nominated rapper and musician, Hussle was a fixture in the South Los Angeles community where he was born and raised. Last year, he opened a STEM center and co-working space called Vector 90 where young people could attend classes. He hoped to help bridge the gap between disadvantaged kids and Silicon Valley.
Prior to his death, the 33-year-old had written a letter to the police commissioner expressing a willingness to hold a meeting about ways to reduce gang violence.
Murder suspect arrested
Holder pleaded not guilty during his first court appearance Thursday in Los Angeles Thursday, two days after his arrest after a nearly 48-hour manhunt.
Authorities say Holder and Hussle, who knew each other, has several conversations Sunday outside the rapper's South L.A. clothing store. They say Holder eventually returned with a handgun and shot Hussle, who was declared dead at a hospital. He also wounded two other men during the attack, authorities said.