LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nipsey Hussle’s legacy as a persistent rapper, community activist, uniter, a doting father, a protective sibling and a loving son were underscored at his public memorial service on Thursday, with deeply personal testimonies from those closest to the rapper, including his actress-fiancee Lauren London, collaborator and dear friend Snoop Dogg and his mother, who said she was at peace with the death of her “superhero” son.
Beyonce and Jay-Z were among the big-name celebrities who attended the three-hour event in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, where the last celebrity funeral held at the concert arena was Michael Jackson’s in 2009.
The arena was packed with more than 21,000 fans and drove home the important impact Hussle — just 33 when he died — had on his city and the rest of the world.
“I’m very proud of my son. My son Ermias Joseph Asghedom was a great man,” said Angelique Smith, dressed in all white. Standing onstage with Hussle’s father, Dawit Asghedom, she declared: “Ermias was a legacy.”
London, who was in dark sunglasses, was emotional but stood strong onstage as she told the audience: “I’ve never felt this type of pain before.”
London called Hussle “majestic” and “brilliant” and said she had learned so much from his presence. She added though she was hurting, she was really sad for their son Kross, whom she feared wouldn’t remember his dad: “My pain is for my two-year-old.”
Snoop Dogg’s words to immortalize his friend were both serious and silly, as he told old stories about Hussle and their brotherhood.
“This a tough one right here,” he said, visibly shaken but keeping his composure.
Snoop thanked Hussle’s parents multiple times and told his father that “you picked up another son in me.”
Hussle’s father said he knew his son was strong because when he was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck but he prevailed.
“He was a fighter,” he said.