Nipsey Hussle: Stars And Fans Celebrate Rapper's Life At Memorial Service
Crowds of friends, family and fans gathered at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on Thursday to celebrate the life of slain rapper, Nipsey Hussle (aka Ermias Asghedom).
As fans filled the streets of LA to pay respects, celebrities including Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder and Snoop Dogg, the 33-year-old's longterm partner Lauren London spoke to the large crowd to pay tribute to Hussle, as she was joined by the couple's two-year-old son, Kross.
"Never was I prepared for anything like this so bear with me y'all," London told attendees.
"My pain is for my two-year-old who probably won't remember how much his dad loved him," London said tearfully. "I'm so honoured and blessed that I got to experience such a man."
"This pain is really ours. We know what Nip meant to us," she said. "We lost an incredible soul. We lost a real one. We won't ever be the same."
"But in Hussle's words, 'The game is going to test you, never fold'," she added. "What's in you, they can't take away, and he's in all of us."
She concluded, "I love you beyond this earth. And until we meet again, the marathon continues!"
London's eldest son Cameron Carter -- whom she shares with ex Lil Wayne -- also paid tribute to his second father figure, recalling a haunting dream he had about Nipsey just two days after he died.
"On the night of April 2nd, I had a dream," the nine-year-old began. "I was in paradise and I was playing in the ocean water when Ermias popped up right behind me. He said, 'What up Killa?' cause that's my nickname to him."
"I turned around, yelled his name and gave him a hug. Shortly after he was gone but it was still cool I guess," Cameron continued. "I told my mum about the dream and after I told her I was thinking about. Ermias told me what heaven was like, he told me it was paradise."
He continued, "In the morning, Ermias would say respect at the window -- so at the count of three, I want everyone to yell 'respect'."
Rapper Snoop Dogg later took the stage, saying that seeing Nipsey with London reminded him of him and his wife's relationship and called her a "queen" to Hussle's "king."
Stevie Wonder also paid tribute and spoke to those gathered, calling for stronger gun control.
"It is a heartbreak to again lose a member of our family," he said. "It is a heartbreak because it is so unnecessary."
"It's unacceptable," Wonder added. "It's almost as if the world is becoming blind." He then performed 'Rocket Love' -- a favourite of the late rapper -- as well as Eric Clapton's hit "Tears in Heaven," ending it with "We love you Nipsey. God bless you."
In what made for one of the most heart-wrenching parts of the ceremony, the star's family shared home movies of the rapper as a child, as he performed for the camera as well as giving an insight into the relationship the star had with his father.
"I love you Daddy," a young Hussle was shown telling his father.
Former US President Barack Obama also paid tribute to the fallen rapper in a tribute letter, which was read to the crowd by Karen Civil, Nipsey Hussle's longtime friend and social media and marketing strategist.
"I'd never met Nipsey Hussle, but I'd heard some of his music through my daughters, and after his passing, I had the chance to learn more about his transformation and his community work," he began.
"While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighbourhood 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 worth of celebration. I hope his memory inspires more good work in Crenshaw and communities like it."
Hussle was fatally shot on March 31 outside his clothing store in South Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced on April 4 that Eric Ronald Holder Jr. was charged with fatally shooting Hussle and wounding two others.
A 40km funeral procession concluded the memorial service at the Staples Center, according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.