Nipsey Hussle tributes continue to pour in
A week after Nipsey Hussle was gunned down in front of a store he owned in the Hyde Park neighborhood, Los Angeles on Sunday continued to honor the beloved rapper and ponder ways to keep his legacy alive.
A moment of silence was held at 3:20 p.m., the time police say the 33-year-old was shot a week ago at The Marathon Clothing store. It was organized by the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.
“Here was a young man who was not exclusively about the bling, flash, cash, cars, party, fun, and the fast life. Here was a guy who had his head screwed on right and was giving back to the community by investing in the community,” Earl Ofari Hutchinson, the group’s president, wrote in a column after his death.
A candlelit vigil at Alexander Hamilton High School in the Castle Heights neighborhood Sunday featured more than 200 of the school’s alumni, fans of his music and other members of the community. The Grammy-nominated rhymesmith briefly attended school there before dropping out at age 15 to pursue his musical career.
Mourners placed candles and photos of the rapper on the school’s steps. Gold balloons that hung in front of a school door spelled out, “Farewell.” Several of the people who spoke at the vigil shared stories of meeting the rapper, who they say was always accessible, and they explained how his love for the community touched them.
“I had the pleasure of meeting him back in 2004,” said Hamilton alum Tamiko Carson, according to CNN affiliate KABC. “I was shopping at Target and we just started talking, and he was just such an amazing young man. The mark he left on this world, it will never be replaceable. There will never be another person who can match what he’s done.”
Two mothers discussed the impact of Nipsey’s death because they were raising black men of their own. The vigil ended with the release of blue balloons in honor of the rapper, as his song “Dedication” played in the background. In the song, Nipsey discusses his commitment to achieving his goals despite his circumstances.
The tributes follow a coast-to-coast outpouring of love for the Eritrean-American rapper, who was respected not only for his artistry but for his devotion to the Crenshaw District where he grew up. He owned businesses there, invested in the community and counted several Los Angeles rappers among his influences and collaborators.
Two of his mixtapes — “Slauson Boy Vol. 1” and “Crenshaw” — took their names from the area. The Marathon Clothing store sits near West Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.
Both police officers and rival street gangs were saddened by his death. Nipsey had reached out to the Los Angeles Police Department to request a meeting to discuss ways to curb gang violence and help children, police said following news that he’d been killed.
Street gangs, meanwhile, brokered a truce in Nipsey’s honor, with a former leader of the Crips (and reportedly Nipsey’s onetime manager), Eugene Henley, announcing on Instagram that they had organized a Friday march among “Bloods, Crips with a like mind, that want to support and pay homage to one of our lost soldiers, one of our good brothers and teachers and leaders.”
Nipsey was a member of the Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips, and Eric Holder, who police accuse of killing the rapper, is believed to belong to a gang as well, though Police Chief Michel Moore declined to specify gang affiliations. The shooting came after a dispute between Holder and the rapper and does not appear gang-related, the chief said.
Holder pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge of murder and two counts of attempted murder, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said. He was also charged at his arraignment with possession of a firearm by a felon.
CNN’s attempts to reach Holder’s attorney were unsuccessful. He is being held on $5 million bail and is scheduled to be back in court May 10.
Holder and Nipsey knew each other, and the suspect had approached the rapper several times March 31, interacting with him and other men in the clothing store’s parking lot, Moore said. At one point, Holder left, returned with a handgun and “purposely and repeatedly fired” at the men, injuring two of them and killing the rapper, the chief said.
Sorrowful tributes poured forth, with John Legend, J. Cole, Pharrell Williams, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Colin Kaepernick, Rihanna, Mayor Eric Garcetti, LeBron James, 50 Cent and Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff applauding what Nipsey gave to his community and to his craft.
NBA star Russell Westbrook dedicated his historic Tuesday night performance to the “Last Time That I Checc’d” rapper, and Blood-affiliated artists YG and The Game also honored their friend and counterpart in social media posts.
In a poignant Instagram post, his sister, Samantha Smith, wrote of the father of two, “I need you please let me hold you again. You are my baby. To the world you are the strongest man and to me you are the most vulnerable innocent child. Your heart is pure they don’t know you like we know you. Your love is expansive. Talk to me again. You’ve taught me so much. You hold me down through everything.”
A Monday vigil at The Marathon Clothing store turned chaotic when, police said, someone brandished a gun, another person in the crowd tried to wrest it away and a stampede ensued. At least 19 people — most with injuries from being trampled — were taken to hospitals, police said.
Police have since placed restrictions on the memorial outside his clothing store, closing it at 10 p.m. each night and asking people not to congregate in front of the many items left in tribute.