The Staples Center was packed Thursday for a public "Celebration of Life” memorial service for late rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed in South L.A. on March 31.
Celebrities, friends, family, and fans gathered to mourn and pay tribute to the Grammy-nominated musician and community activist. Nipsey, who was born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was just 33.
Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played during a photo montage of Nipsey’s life. His father, sister, brother and mother shared their heartfelt messages about their beloved family member. Nipsey’s mother, Angelique Smith, said, "My son Ermias Joseph Asghedom was a great man.”
Nipsey’s children also appeared onstage. His longtime girlfriend Lauren London’s son Cameron Carter spoke sweetly to the crowd, recalling a recent dream he had about Nipsey.
Hussle’s friend and former business partner Karen Civil shared a letter penned by former President Obama that honored the slain rapper. Part of the note read, "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. 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.”
Snoop Dogg remembered his friend, as did Rapper YG. Minister Louis Farrakhan paid his respects by calling Nipsey the “prophetic voice of all in that community." Jhene Aiko sang a touching rendition of her song “Eternal Sunshine,” and there were performances by Marsha Ambrosius and Anthony Hamilton.
Stevie Wonder performed “Rocket Love” and covered Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven.” Wonder remarked in his tribute speech, “It is a heartbreak to again lose a member of our family. It is a heartbreak because it's so unnecessary.”
In one of the most heartbreaking moments of the service, Lauren London, Nipsey’s partner of over five years and the mother of their 2-year-old son Kross, spoke through tears about the “love of her life.” She spoke of a deeply felt text message she wrote for him while he was sleeping. It was also shared in the memorial program.
A text message from Lauren London that she sent in January while Nipsey was in the same bed sleeping was placed in the obituary 😭 I am in shambles!#CelebrationOfNipseyHussle pic.twitter.com/cAkGXrj2hY— J 🌺 (@wenttojarrett) April 11, 2019
Nipsey’s memorial was followed by a 25.5 mile funeral procession that went through South L.A., Watts and Inglewood. He will be laid to rest at Forest Lawn cemetery.