Entertainment Lead Story Music West Edition

Nipsey Hussle remembered as beacon of light

LOS ANGELES — A massive “Celebration of Life” memorial service is being planned for slain West Coast rapper Nipsey Hussle at the 21,000-seat Staples Center, according to the late rapper’s family.

The service will start at 10 a.m. April 11.

Tickets for the service, which were free and available via axs.com mobile app, reportedly sold out in 15 minutes.

Directly after the service, there will be a funeral procession with Hussle’s casket traveling through South Los Angeles, including a stop at Hussle’s Marathon Clothing. The procession will end at a funeral home in the Crenshaw District.

The Los Angeles City Council announced in would adjourn its April 12 meeting in his memory.

The City Council also announced it would honor Hussle by renaming the intersection at Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue as “Ermias ‘Nipsey Hussle’ Asghedom Square.”

Hussle dedicated his life to improving his South Los Angeles community and U.S. Rep. Karen Bass decided to honor the slain rap artist by formally entering his contributions into the Congressional Record.

“I will be heading to the House Floor next week to formally enter Nipsey Hussle’s contributions to South Los Angeles into the Congressional Record where it will be a part of United States history forever,” she tweeted last week.

Eric Holder has been charged with killing Hussle March 31 in front of his retail store, Marathon Clothing, at that intersection. Holder was arrested after a two-day manhunt and was charged April 4 with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon during a court appearance at Los Angeles County Superior Court.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Holder, who is being held in solitary confinement, could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted. His bail has been set at $5 million. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 10.

Holder is being represented by attorney Christopher Darden, who was on the other side of the legal fence when he helped prosecute O.J. Simpson on murder chargers in 1994 and 1995 when he worked for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Darden has declined to comment on the charges against Holder.

Grief-stricken fans are still mourning the death of Hussle, 33, who was a beacon of light in his Hyde Park community.

Candles and flowers continue to flow into the parking lot in front of his store. Hussle co-owned the strip mall that housed his store.

A neighborhood icon whose debut album “Victory Lap” had scored a Grammy nomination and has since skyrocketed up the charts, Hussle rose from hawking his rap mixtapes from his truck on Crenshaw Boulevard to becoming an established entrepreneur.

People remember him as extremely generous to his community — supplying residents, including some ex-felons, with jobs, housing the homeless, awarding scholarships to local students and paying for the funerals of grieving families.

At the time of his death, he was working on building affordable housing in Hyde Park.

The visionary was also an investor in Vector 90, a local tech hub in the Crenshaw District, which he described as a “bridge between Silicon Valley and the inner city.”

In an effort to quell a recent increase in violence, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer recently launched the Office of Violence Prevention.

“The murder of Nipsey Hussle … was one devastating reminder that violence can rip families and communities apart,” Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said. “We desperately need to address all of the ways that violence impacts our communities. I am proud to stand with the county to get to work.”

“The Office of Violence Prevention’s efforts will be focused on working upstream to address the root causes of violence, to preempt it from occurring,” Ridley-Thomas said.

According to a witness who saw the fatal shooting that was also captured on surveillance video, Holder approached Hussle and the two men shook hands, but the witness said that Holder had “envy and hate in his eyes” just moments before Hussle was gunned down.

Holder was an aspiring rapper who boasted about gruesome killings but had few followers on social media.

Holder and Hussle had joined the same Crips gang in their youth — the Rollin’ Neighborhood 60’s — but according to sources, the two apparently had a personal beef.

It is reported that Holder dashed to a waiting car parked in a back alley driven by an unidentified female to retrieve a gun.

Hussle was with two other men when Holder returned to fire three gunshots at Hussle’s head and torso, causing the rapper to crumple to the ground.

According to onlookers, Hussle raised his head off the ground and said: “You shot me. You got me. I’m good.”

Enraged that Hussle was still alive, Holder returned to the scene and fired several more shots.

Holder then viciously kicked Hussle in the head while he lay bleeding on the ground.

Hussle was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The two other men were also hit by bullets but survived the incident.

After shooting the victims, Holder fled and was attempting to check himself into a mental health facility in Bellflower when he was apprehended by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies.

“Young black people in South Los Angeles don’t have many heroes, but they did have one that walked among them every day, and that was Nipsey,” said Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope.

Before his death, Hussle had planned to meet with LAPD’s police chief and police commissioner to discuss a plan to prevent gang violence.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a press conference, “Nipsey Hussle … was someone who was a gifted and brilliant artist. An entrepreneur who found global success. He was working closely with this city. He was a tireless advocate for the young people of this city and this world. His impact on our city was deep.”

Hussle was at his clothing store the day of the shooting to gift an ex-con and friend who had just been released after 20 years in prison with some new clothes before being reunited with his family later that day.

Hussle did not notify his bodyguard that he was visiting the store without security protection.

Hundreds of fans mournfully milled around Hussle’s candle and flower-laden memorial as they reflected on the legacy of the rapper.

“I was a fan. I listened to his music,” said Corey Ross, 27. “He was a black man trying to do right for his city and his ‘hood.”

“I think Nipsey’s life for me is an example of unity,” said Demetrius Smith, 62. ”It was like he said, ‘Victory Lap.’”

“I am very sad and distraught about his passing,” said Tora Miller, 45. “I could see his humility and his heart for the community.”

“Nipsey had just signed my boy, Killer Twan, to a record deal three or four months ago,” said Jay Collier, who had driven from Watts. “Nipsey got him out of the game and had him pushin’ music.”

Condolences from celebrities continued to pour in for the slain rapper including tributes from Snoop Dogg, Master P, Offset, J. Cole, The Game, YG, T. I., LeBron James, Sza, Chance the Rapper, Kevin Hart, Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams, Meek Mill, Chuck D, Soulja Boy, and Drake, among others.

John Legend tweeted: “RIP Nipsey. I just spent Thursday with him filming a video for a beautiful new song we created with Khaled. We filmed in Inglewood, close to where he grew up. He was so gifted, so proud of his home, so invested in his community. Utterly stunned that he’s gone so soon.”

Rihanna tweeted: “This doesn’t make any sense! My spirit is shaken by this! Dear God may his spirit rest in peace and may you grant divine comfort to all his loved ones! … I’m so sorry this happened to you.”