Stevie Wonder and Snoop Dogg pay tribute to Nipsey Hussle at memorial service
Fans gathered to celebrate the life of the US rapper who was shot dead last month.
More than 20,000 fans and a host of stars have paid tribute to US rapper Nipsey Hussle during a public memorial in Los Angeles.
Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and Hussle’s fiancee Lauren London remembered the musician who was shot dead last month aged 33.
Hussle’s Grammy-nominated album Victory Lap played as mourners filled the Staples Center arena, which was the location of Michael Jackson’s memorial in 2009.
Hussle’s mother Angelique Smith described the rapper, real name Ermias Joseph Asghedom, as “a great man”, adding: “I’m very proud of my son. Ermias was a legacy.”
Wonder called for stronger gun control laws before playing the song Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton.
He said: “It is a heartbreak to again lose a member of our family. It is a heartbreak because it’s so unnecessary.
“It is so painful to know that we don’t have enough people taking a position that says, ‘listen, we must have stronger gun laws’.
“It is unacceptable. It is almost like the world is becoming blind.”
Snoop Dogg addressed his late friend, saying: “You are a peace advocate, Nip. That’s what you are.”
Media figure Karen Civil read a letter from Barack Obama in which the former US president hailed the rapper’s work to end deprivation.
It read: “I’ve never met Nipsey, but I’ve heard his music through my daughters, and after his passing I had the chance to learn more about his transformation and his community work.
“While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and only see gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential.
“He saw hope. He saw a community that even through its flaws taught him to always keep going. He chose to invest in that community rather than to ignore it.”
London, who had a son with Hussle, also spoke, telling the audience: “I’ve never felt this type of pain before.”
After the service a silver hearse carrying Hussle’s coffin drove 25 miles through the city to a funeral home in the Crenshaw district, where the rapper was born in 1985.
Eric Holder has been charged with killing Hussle and pleaded not guilty.