The city of Los Angeles has been in mourning since 33-year-old rapper and South L.A. advocate Nipsey Hussle was gunned down on March 31, just outside his store, the Marathon Clothing in Hyde Park.
Actress Lauren London, Hussle’s partner and mother of their 2-year-old son Kross Asghedom, acknowledged L.A.’s pain over the loss of Nip (the nickname by which his family, friends, and fans fondly referred to him).
In her touching tribute at Hussle’s Celebration of Life memorial service, held at the Staples Center on April 11, London said, “I know everyone is hurting but, I’d like to say something to my city, Los Angeles. This pain is really ours. We know what Nip meant to us. We lost an incredible soul, we lost someone very rare to us, and we lost a real one. We won’t ever be the same, but in Hussle’s words, because he used to always say this: ‘The game is gonna test you, never fold. Stay ten toes down, it’s not on you. It’s in you. And what’s in you, they can’t take away.’ And he’s in all of us.”
While thousands of fans lined up as early as 7 a.m. for the event, others somberly lingered outside of the arena wearing blue clothing, and selling blue roses and T-shirts with Hussle’s words and image. Others burned incense in honor of Hussle, handing it out while Hussle’s music continued to blare out of portable speakers as people prepared to say their final goodbyes.
In the midst of it all, we spoke to fans about the impact that Hussle had on their lives and in their community.
“Nipsey Hussle was a successful, intelligent, dedicated entrepreneur that always held his neighborhood high. He motivated people all over the world with his wisdom and honorable mindset. He showed the world first hand the good in Crenshaw District and that hard work truly pays off. He made a difference and for that… the marathon must continue.”
“Nipsey Hussle was not only a rapper but an icon and a role model. He walked the same streets [and] put on for the area. I met him once, so it was wild to see him go out the way he did. Not only did he [inspire] the youth from south of the 10 freeway but around the world. He showed us that no matter where we come from or what we’re into–we always have something to contribute. And that we can also rise from a dark place and shed light on the world and if we put our mind to it and invest our energy the right way, we too, can obtain everything we’ve ever dreamed of.”
Ayla L. Montgomery
“Nipsey Hussle is the blueprint for the work we all need to do to make our community better. He literally showed a way for all of us to rise above our circumstances not only to better our own lives but the lives in our community. I can’t think of a better example of that, dead or alive. He exemplified the importance of helping each other. We are all in this together. I think his life showed us that in a way no one else has. I hope we all conduct ourselves the way he did from here on out.”
Frederick Douglas Smith
“I’m from the Crenshaw area–Crenshaw and 67th to be exact. Nipsey Hussle helped me get through high school, tried to go to college, got me through the work field–all that. When I heard about his passing, I was sad. I lost my soul. I lost a piece of my mind. I lost a piece of my heart–everything was just torn out of me. But I don’t know if the true ones are out here [at the Staples Center], I don’t know. I mean, I feel like there are some clout chasers out here but it is what it is. I tried to get tickets [to the memorial service], you know, as an L.A. native, I was hurt. But it’s all good, you know, the real ones are going to be on that 25-mile victory lap, we’re about to turn up for that. We’re going to be celebrating up for the rest of our life. For the rest of my life, I’m going to be celebrating Nipsey Hussle the Great. Period.”
“We’re out here celebrating the life of Nipsey Hussle. The marathon will always continue. Nipsey Hussle meant so much to me and so much to the city. That’s a soul that will never be forgotten.”
“I’m not originally from here, I’m from New Jersey, but one thing that Nipsey has always inspired us to do as a group of people, as a group of black people, was always to show each other love, respect, and unity. [Hussle inspired us] to always push forward and to progress in life. He was a very influential leader, he was a voice for the voiceless. He showed us that we can come from nothing and make something out of life and that’s important to all of us. He died in the city he did everything for.”
“The loss of Nipsey Hussle hurts. It hurts his family, close friends, real fans, and his city as well. We lost a beautiful soul. Thank you for all you did and for all the people you impacted. You’ll never be forgotten.”
“He will truly be missed, our city has truly lost a jewel. Losing Nipsey [Hussle] was like losing a family member. Nipsey was once in a lifetime. He was a leader and role model for people everywhere. He showed me that you can be from the ghetto and still make it in life.”
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