"I hope his memory inspires more work in Crenshaw and communities like it," Obama says of the slain rapper.
Nipsey Hussle's memorial service took place Thursday afternoon at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Twenty-one thousand people showed up, and thousands more were there in spirit.
Those who couldn't make it paid their respects in other ways.
Former president Barack Obama wrote the slain Crenshaw rapper a tribute that was read aloud by hip-hop executive Karen Civil at his Celebration of Life. After a moving performance by Marsha Ambrosius, who sang Mariah Carey's "Fly Like a Bird," Civil took the stage.
"Dear friends and family of Nipsey," she began. "I'd never met Nipsey Hussle, but I'd heard some of 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 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," she continued. "His choice to invest in that community rather than ignore it -- to build a skills-training center and a co-working space in Crenshaw; to lift up the Eritrean-American community; to set an example for young people to follow -- is a legacy worthy of celebration. I hope his memory inspires more work in Crenshaw and communities like it."
"Michelle and I send our sympathies to Lauren, Emani, Kross and the entire Asghedom family and to all those who loved Nipsey," she concluded.
Lenny Kravitz was so moved by the speech, he shared it on Twitter, adding, "My grandfather was a leader in our community in [Bedford-Stuyvesant], Brooklyn, when I was growing up. I watched him transform lives and the neighborhood. This kind of leadership is vitally necessary. We must act locally and build from within."
Bruno Mars also shared a touching tribute to the late rapper and his family, tweeting, "If this tragic story can teach anything, it's look at the love you receive when you lead with positivity. You can't take money or fame with you when you leave this earth. All you have is your legacy, and Nipsey will always be remembered as a leader. Respect to ALL that do this work. The named and the unnamed. We can work TOGETHER! Let not Nipsey Hussle's transformation be in vain. He lived this. The work must continue. Love and respect to his family and those that knew him."
"In a time where saying some outlandish, disrespectful shit can get you some headlines, this man was putting in hard work and dedication to his craft and never taking the easy way out," he continued. "Most importantly, his actions did all the talking. R.I.P., Saint Nipsey. Love and prayers to your beautiful family."
Cardi B thanked Nipsey for "inspiring" her, adding that she's "learned a lot these past two weeks and the world has also," while Rihanna and Jamie Foxx shared the same powerful illustration -- one showing Nipsey and the children he was always striving to help. "The Marathon continues..." is written on the wall behind him as a clear ode to his clothing store, Marathon, where he was shot and killed last Sunday.
"R.I.P. God blessing," Foxx captioned the illustration. "I know there is a silver lining to this. Just hard to see it right now. But good is coming. I can feel. God bless the family."
Perhaps the most gut-wrenching tribute famous and non-famous Nipsey fans are sharing is a photo of one of the pages from the late rapper's memorial pamphlet. It's of a lengthy text message his girlfriend, Lauren London, sent him back in January while she watched him sleep. She read it aloud at his service.
In part, the text said, "I want you to know I feel real joy in my heart when I'm around you. I feel safe around you. Protected. Like a shield over me when you're around." She ended with, "My truth is this: I'm never going to give up on you. My love and devotion is to you."
Gabrielle Union was just one of many who shared the photo, writing, "Let us lift them up in the light of goodness and hold them there."
We'll update this post with more tributes as they pour in.
Marsha Ambrosius has taken the mic to give a rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Fly Like A Bird” #CelebrationOfNipseyHussle— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) April 11, 2019
Respect to ALL that do this work. The named and the unnamed. We can work TOGETHER! Let not @NipseyHussle’s transformation be in vain. He lived this. The work must continue. Love and respect to his family and those that knew him. Peace, LK. pic.twitter.com/mrzkboFxyO— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) April 11, 2019
Thank you Nipsey for inspiring 💙I have learned a lot these past two weeks and the world has also.🕊🙏🏼— iamcardib (@iamcardib) April 11, 2019
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Obama wrote you a letter.... your life celebration was at the staples center.... you stayed down with your people... you you held your family down to the max ... you never folded and stood for something and you had a heart of gold!! You took this shit to another level for us young kings! You gave us more value and I thank you for that! #hussleday
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