In a packed stadium or via multiple broadcasts, tens of thousands of people attended the ceremony in memory of American rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was gunned down on March 31 in his Los Angeles neighborhood.
Mostly black or Latin American, often dressed in T-shirts with a photo of the artist who died at age 33, fans had begun to flock early Thursday morning to Staples Center, a famous stadium located in the heart of Los Angeles who also hosted Michael Jackson’s public funeral in 2009.
A giant portrait of Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom in a family of Eritrean origin, with his dates of birth and death, adorned the facade of this emblematic city.
Some fans had come from far away, like Ron Solomon, who flew from Atlanta to say goodbye to Nipsey Hussle. “All he has lived through is also what I believe […] Support his, do not let the system defeat us,” he told The New York Times.
“His legacy is rich, not just in music, but his contribution to the community. His energy, his enthusiasm … There are so many things that we will miss and that can not be replaced, “said Dejuan Guy, high school student.
A total of 21,000 places were freely available on the internet to the public by the organizers of this “celebration of life”. They were torn off in just a few minutes.
Many celebrities had made the trip, such as rappers Meek Mill, Puff Daddy and Snoop Dogg-also from Los Angeles-or singer Anthony Hamilton.
Stevie Wonder, whom Nipsey Hussle had imagined at her funeral in a 2016 song, was also present. Before interpreting two of her titles, Stevie Wonder called for a reinforcement of arms control in the United States, lamenting a new “useless” death.
” This is unacceptable. It’s almost as if the world is going blind, “said the soul music icon, himself blind.
According to US authorities, nearly 40,000 people were killed by firearms in 2017, including suicides.
In the aftermath of the drama, many stars had paid tribute to the rapper from the underground rap scene, which lacked great commercial success, enjoyed the esteem of the world of hip-hop.
Nipsey Hussle had composed titles for singers affiliated with rival gangs, that of the Crips to which he had belonged, but also the Bloods, their great rivals, said Snoop Dogg, praising his role of peacemaker fighting the violence of the streets. The rapper himself was dressed in blue, the color of the Crips of which he was also a part.
“He saw hope”
In front of the crowds, the ceremony began an hour late, while a DJ played the album “Victory Lap”, which had earned Nipsey Hussle a nomination in the last Grammy Awards.
The rapper’s coffin, surrounded by hundreds of flowers, was in the middle of the stage where his family members came to speak to each other. “All he put in his music was him,” said his brother Samuel Asghedom.
A message sent by former US President Barack Obama to the deceased’s family was also read on stage.
“He was an example to follow for young people,” he continued, praising his social commitment in the poor neighborhood of Crenshaw, south of Los Angeles. “While most people saw only gangs, bullets and desperation, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope, “said Barack Obama.
At the end of the three hours of ceremony, a procession furrowed the South of Los Angeles to allow all to pay him a last homage. Thousands of fans had taken place on the course, about forty kilometers.
Eric Holder, 29, was arrested for the murder of the rapper. Identified through video surveillance footage, the young man pleaded not guilty and it is still unclear why Nipsey Hussle was murdered.
According to the police, the tragedy is linked to a personal quarrel between the two men but does not have a direct link with local gangs, a track initially envisaged.