Barack Obama’s Letter at the Nipsey Hussle Funeral, He Saw Hope
Nipsey Hussle, a Grammy-nominated rapper, is remembered by a number of celebrities and respected figures at a funeral on Thursday. Among them: 44th president of the United States.
In a letter read to mourners who have filled the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, President Barack Obama praised Hussle, 33, for overcoming his youth and becoming an advocate for South Los Angeles.
“While most people see Crenshaw’s environment where he grew up and only saw gangs, bullets, and despair, Nipsey saw potential,” Obama said in the letter, read aloud by hip-hop media personality Karen Civil.
“He saw hope,” continued the letter. “He saw communities that, even through their shortcomings, taught him to keep going.”
Hussle, born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was shot dead outside his clothing store on March 31. Within a few days, authorities arrested Eric R. Holder Jr., 29, a man suspected of shooting him. Mr. Holder has pleaded not guilty to the murder.
In the letter, Obama said that he had learned about “the transformation and work of his community” after Hussle was introduced to rapper music by his daughter, Sasha and Malia.
Obama also praised him for giving back to his community, which Hussle did, in part, by opening a Marathon Clothing store and a shared workspace at Crenshaw dedicated to increasing diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Hussle “sets an example for young people to follow,” Obama said, adding that “is a legacy worthy of celebration.”
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“I hope his memories inspire more work both at Crenshaw and communities like that,” Obama said.
Then in service, Hussle’s family and friends shared memories of love, curiosity, enthusiasm, and encouragement.
“He has very beautiful energy,” said his mother, Angelique Smith. “He’s smart, he’s beaming, he’s a super hero.”
Ms Smith also shared memories from Hussle’s childhood, conveying how she jumped to act when her car caught fire and lovingly remembered her love for amusement park rides.
Brother Hussle, Samiel, remembers watching in amazement when Hussle built a computer when they were little, and then started a music career and gathered friends left and right.
Associate Hussle, actress Lauren London, described it as a “great” soul.
“He is the strongest man I have ever known, a gentle father, a patient leader, a divine light,” he said.
Free tickets to services, held in the arena of 21,000 seats, are claimed online in a few minutes after being released earlier this week.
The service starts with Hussle’s own songs “Right Hand to God” and “Victory Lap,” the main song from his latest album and major-label debut.
Others who paid homage to Hussle included Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, and Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.