UPDATED: 5:36 p.m. EDT
President Barack Obama was one of the many big names that honored the late Nipsey Hussle at his memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Thursday morning. Obama sent a letter to Nipsey’s family, which was read to the over 20,000 mourners at the memorial service.
In the letter, Obama admitted that he had only been familiar with Nipsey’s music through his daughters Malia and Sasha. He also expressed admiration for the work Nipsey had done in the community and commended him for not forgetting where he came from. Nipsey’s close friend and business partner, Karen Civil, became emotional as she read the letter. According to Entertainment Tonight, Obama wrote the letter Thursday morning.
In the letter, Obama admitted that he had only been familiar with Nipsey’s music through his daughters. He also expressed admiration for the work Nipsey had done in the community and commended him for not forgetting where he came from.
The Staples Center opened its doors at 8 a.m. local time for the memorial service and the ceremony was set to begin at 10a.m. but was slightly delayed.
Nipsey was killed on Sunday, March 31, after being shot in front of his Los Angeles clothing store. Suspected shooter, Eric Holder was arrested days later and has been charged with murder as well as other charges. Holder has pled not guilty to the charges and is being represented by infamous O.J. Simpson prosecutor, Chris Darden.
Since Nipsey’s death, countless celebrities have paid tribute to the artist and community activist, including Rihanna, Snoop Dog, YG, Meek Mill and others. Many fans held vigils around the country to honor Nipsey.
Scroll down to read the full text of Obama’s letter.
“Dear Friends and Family of Nipsey:
“I’d never met Nipsey Hussle, but I’d hear 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. His choice to invest in that community rather than ignore it–to build a skills training center and a coworking 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 this memory inspires more good 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.