A celebration of the life of Nipsey Hussle kick-started on Thursday morning, where more than 20,000 people flocked to the memorial to pay their respects to the slain rapper.
The hearse carrying Hussle’s coffin (shown) from the Staples Center traveled deep into the neighborhood where the deadly Rodney King race riot began in 1992.
The Nipsey Hussle’s Celebration of Life ceremony began at 10am at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, and thousands more are expected to take to the streets for a 25-mile procession through the city.
The hearse carrying Hussle’s coffin arrived at the stadium flocked by a convoy of black Rolls Royces.
Following the ceremony, the car will then travel deep into the neighborhood where the deadly Rodney King race riot began in 1992 and on past the property where Hussle had planned to turn an aging strip mall into new businesses and affordable homes.
Finally, it will arrive at a funeral home in the city’s hard-scrabble Crenshaw district, where the rapper was born on Aug. 15, 1985.
Hussle was shot to death March 31 while standing outside The Marathon, his South Los Angeles clothing store, not far from where the rapper grew up. The store will be one of the places where Hussle’s casket passes during the procession through South Los Angeles.
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.
The 33-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, was an Eritrean-American father of two who was engaged to actress Lauren London.
He was a beloved figure for his philanthropic work that went well beyond the usual celebrity ‘giving back’ ethos.
Following his death, political and community leaders were as quick and effusive in their praise as his fellow hip-hop artists.
Hussle recently purchased the strip mall where The Marathon is located and planned to redevelop it into a mixed-use commercial and residential complex. The plan was part of Hussle’s broader ambitions to remake the neighborhood where he grew up and attempt to break the cycle of gang life that lured him in when he was younger.