You don’t need to know someone personally to mourn their passing. After all, it’s not uncommon for celebrity deaths to profoundly affect fans. When someone’s career had a major impact on your life, it’s natural to feel a sense of loss when they die.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Nipsey Hussle’s Funeral Service and Procession
- How and Where Was Nipsey Hussle Buried?
- How Did People Grieve and Memorialize Nipsey Hussle?
The tragic shooting and death of rapper Nipsey Hussle offered a recent example of this effect. In his brief 33 years, Nipsey Hussle made a major impression in the hip-hop world, while also inspiring fans with songs about the importance of peace.
Thus, it came as no surprise to many that Nipsey Hussle’s funeral drew a tremendous crowd. This brief overview will help you better understand precisely how fans, loved ones, and colleagues mourned the young rapper.
Nipsey Hussle’s Funeral Service and Procession
As is often the case with celebrity funerals, those in charge of organizing Nipsey Hussle’s memorial service planned an event that would give not only close friends and family members a chance to pay their respects, but also the rapper’s fans. They did so in the following key ways.
Nipsey Hussle’s fame and influence on his community warranted a funeral service that involved a grand procession. In fact, Nipsey Hussle essentially had two funerals: a memorial that allowed fans and fellow musicians to pay their respects, as well as a private service for family and close loved ones.
The memorial service began at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. The funeral procession followed, during which mourners traversed an approximately 25-mile long route through various L.A. neighborhoods, including Watts and Inglewood. The more intimate funeral service took place at L.A.’s Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Nipsey Hussle’s popularity as a musician naturally inspired various mourners to perform or play funeral songs during his memorial service. Noteworthy examples include:
“Hussle & Motivate”
Throughout Nipsey Hussle’s funeral and memorial, a D.J. played numerous songs, highlighting the importance of celebrating Hussle’s life and honoring his legacy. Many of these songs were famous tracks Hussle himself wrote and performed, including “Hussle & Motivate,” which fans consider to be among his most iconic works.
“Tears in Heaven”
Stevie Wonder was one well-known figure who attended Nipsey Hussle’s funeral. After a series of remarks in which the singer asked lawmakers to take additional steps to prevent violent shooting deaths,
Wonder performed Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven.” Although Clapton wrote the song after the tragic death of his infant son, many now consider the song to be an appropriate choice for any memorial.
Wonder also performed one of his own songs at Nipsey Hussle’s memorial service. He chose “Rocket Love” because he’d heard it was one of Hussle’s favorite songs.
The presence of Stevie Wonder had particularly special significance. In his 2016 song “Ocean Views,” Hussle actually mentioned hoping someone would play a Stevie Wonder song at his funeral.
“Fly Like a Bird”
Marsha Ambrosius was another R&B singer in attendance at Nipsey Hussle’s funeral. She performed “Fly Like a Bird,” a Mariah Carey song featuring lyrics about the desire to reconnect with a lost love.
Along with live performances, Nipsey Hussle’s funeral and memorial service also included a montage of photos from all periods of Hussle’s life. Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” a popular choice for many funerals, played over the montage.
On top of the names already mentioned, Nipsey Hussle’s funeral drew in such attendees as:
Fellow rapper and close personal friend Snoop Dogg attended Nipsey Hussle’s funeral service, calling him not only an exceptionally talented artist but a “peace advocate” as well.
Due to the difference in age between Nipsey Hussle and Snoop Dogg, the rapper also reflected on the fact that he essentially watched Nipsey Hussle grow up in front of him.
James Harden and DeMar DeRozan
NBA stars James Harden (of the Houston Rockets) and DeMar DeRozan (of the San Antonio Spurs) also participated in the memorial service.
However, other attendees noticed that despite being relatively well-known among many of the people in attendance, they didn’t speak much to anyone, seeming to not want to take any attention away from Hussle.
Not everyone who participated in Nipsey Hussle’s funeral and memorial service necessarily did so in-person. For various reasons, some mourners could not be there in person but were present in other ways.
For instance, Drake, who was in London at the time, posted an Instagram picture in which he was watching the service, with the caption “Sent off like a king and rightfully so.”
Kendrick Lamar, another rapper particularly beloved among L.A. residents, contributed a letter in which he described his experiences touring with Nipsey Hussle. Lamar’s letter stated, “I watched a young, ambitious black male orchestrate fellowship amongst the men around him on that tour.” Like many other rappers who reflected on their relationships with Nipsey Hussle, Lamar praised both his talent and his character.
Even President Barack Obama participated in the memorial service to a degree. Specifically, he wrote a letter (which hip-hop media icon Karen Civil read to the mourners) saying, “While most people look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only 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.”
Nipsey Hussle’s close loved ones managed to offer comfort to those in attendance during what must have been an incredibly difficult time.
Nipsey Hussle’s mother, Angelique Smith, told the crowd “I have perfect peace. I am happy, I am complete. I am strong, and if I can feel this way, so can you.” She explained that due to her spiritual beliefs she was confident that her son’s soul continued to exist.
Lauren London, Nipsey Hussle’s long-time girlfriend and mother to his son, also offered words of wisdom. Quoting Nipsey Hussle, she said, “The game is gonna test you. Never fold. Stay 10 toes down. It’s not on you, it’s in you, and what’s in you they can’t take away.”
The route of Nipsey Hussle’s funeral procession was significant because it passed through the areas where the rapper grew up. Additionally, as the rapper’s fame grew, so did his wealth. He honored his home by investing large amounts of that wealth into the neighborhoods of his youth. The procession’s route honored this element of his legacy.
The procession also brought mourners to Nipsey Hussle’s Marathon Clothing store. On the one hand, this could have been a somber spot, as it was the site of the rapper’s shooting. However, many others considered it to be a symbol of Hussle’s dedication to the community.
Many of those who attended Nipsey Hussle’s funeral and memorial service chose to wear “Crenshaw” shirts that had become famous thanks to the rapper’s store. Because Hussle also made a point of remaining connected to his Eritrean roots, other attendees with similar backgrounds wore traditional Eritrean garments.
These distinct clothing choices reflected Nipsey Hussle’s devotion to both the community where he grew up and the country his ancestors called home.
How and Where Was Nipsey Hussle Buried?
Again, although the larger memorial service and procession gave a large group the chance to remember Nipsey Hussle, his final burial took place at Forest Lawn Cemetery with a smaller number of attendees.
Hussle’s loved ones buried him among numerous other stars, including Lucille Ball, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds, confirming that Nipsey Hussle became a pop culture icon, even if his career was cut short.
How Did People Grieve and Memorialize Nipsey Hussle?
Fans and loved ones didn’t necessarily stop mourning and honoring Nipsey Hussle after his funeral.
For instance, throughout L.A., you can now find memorial walls featuring paintings of Nipsey Hussle. These are often colorful, and some of them depict the rapper with angel wings, reminding those who see the murals that his spirit lives on.
Additionally, in the weeks following Nipsey Hussle’s death, some fans contributed to a makeshift memorial in the parking lot of his store.
Nipsey Hussle’s Funeral: Saying Goodbye to an Icon
Nipsey Hussle’s tragic death marked the end of a life filled with potential. That said, as Nipsey Hussle’s funeral made clear, in a short span of time, the young rapper made a tremendous impact on the lives of everyone from fans to fellow L.A. community members.
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- France, Lisa Respers, Veronica Rocha and Brian Ries. “Remembering Nipsey Hussle.” CNN, Cable News Network, 11 April 2019, www.cnn.com/us/live-news/nipsey-hussle-memorial-service/index.html
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- Landrum Jr., Jonathan and Andrew Dalton. “Nipsey Hussle's family gathers for private funeral in LA.” ABC News, ABC News Internet Ventures, 12 April 2019, abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/nipsey-hussles-family-gathers-private-funeral-la-62369159
- Maicki, Salvatore. “Nipsey Hussle’s memorial is shutting down because people were exploiting it.” Fader, The Fader, Inc., 02 May 2019, www.thefader.com/2019/05/02/nipsey-hussle-los-angeles-memorial-is-shutting-down-because-people-were-exploiting-it
- Medina, Jennifer, Jose A. Del Real and Tim Arango. “At Nipsey Hussle Funeral, Music and Tears as Rapper Is ‘Sent Off Like a King’.” The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 11 April 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/04/11/us/nipsey-hussle-funeral.html
- Merrett, Robyn. “Nipsey Hussle Laid to Rest at Private Funeral in Los Angeles Following Emotional Memorial Service.” People, Meredith Corporation, 12 April 2019, people.com/music/nipsey-hussle-laid-to-rest-private-funeral-los-angeles/
- Pineda, Dorany. “Across L.A., murals are a testament to Nipsey Hussle’s legacy.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, 14 July 2019, www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-nipsey-hussle-murals-street-art-20190714-htmlstory.html