Nipsey Hussle’s family gathers for private funeral

Nipsey Hussle
Attendees of a burial service for the late rapper Nipsey Hussle stage a tribute to him as they prepare to leave Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills cemetery, Friday, April 12, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP photo)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nipsey Hussle’s family and friends gathered Friday for a private funeral on a day when the slain rapper was also honored by his hometown of Los Angeles.

Hussle was buried at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills in an afternoon service.

The sprawling cemetery in northern Los Angeles between Griffith Park and Burbank is, as the name would suggest, the final resting place of much Hollywood royalty, including Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Liberace and David Carradine.

The small ceremony stood in contrast to a giant celebration a day earlier of the 33-year-old Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom. About 20,000 people flocked to a public memorial for Hussle a day earlier at Staples Center.

Afterward, thousands more lined the streets as the recently anointed hometown hero, his casket draped in the flag of his father’s native country, Eritrea in East Africa, embarked on a 25-mile tour of the city.

Earlier Friday, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to rename the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue “Nipsey Hussle Square.”

Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a friend of Hussle, proposed the move.

“His work and impact will never be forgotten and I am grateful to do a small part to ensure the marathon continues,” Harris-Dawson said in a statement, using what has become a popular phrase in remembrance of the rapper.

The South Los Angeles intersection is home to Hussle’s clothing store, The Marathon. He was standing outside it when he was fatally shot on March 31.

Hussle recently purchased the strip mall where The Marathon is located and planned to redevelop it, part of his broader ambitions to remake his childhood neighborhood and attempt to break the cycle of gang life that lured him in when he was younger.

Eric R. Holder Jr., who has been charged with killing Hussle, has pleaded not guilty. Police have said Holder and Hussle had several interactions the day of the shooting and have described it as being the result of a personal dispute.

Hussle’s family and dozens of fans were at the meeting, which also adjourned in his honor, before heading to the burial service.

For a decade, Hussle released much sought-after mixtapes that he sold out of the trunk of his car, helping him create a buzz and gain respect from rap purists and his peers.

Last year, Hussle hit new heights with “Victory Lap,” his critically acclaimed major-label debut album on Atlantic Records that earned him a Grammy nomination.

On Thursday, in the first celebrity memorial at Staples Center since Michael Jackson’s nearly a decade ago, some of people who knew Hussle best, from his actress-fiancée Lauren London, dear friend Snoop Dogg and mother shared personal stories about the rapper during a three-hour service.

When it was over, London revealed a fresh tattoo of Hussle on her forearm, writing in an Instagram post that “Real Love Never Dies” and that from now on “When you see me, you will always see him.”

Reporting by Jonathan Landrum Jr. and Andrew Dalton

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