Nipsey Hussle Celebration of Life Memorial Service: Stevie Wonder Calls Rapper's Death 'So Unnecessary'

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Nipsey Hussle's memorial service is being held on Thursday at Los Angeles' Staples Center, and ET is streaming it live. 

Hussle's Celebration of Life begins at 10 a.m. PT and will end at 12 p.m. PT. Following the service, there will be a processional and the late rapper will be laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery in L.A. 

Hussle was fatally shot on March 31 outside his clothing store in South Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced on April 4 that Eric Ronald Holder Jr. was charged with fatally shooting Hussle and wounding two others in Los Angeles. The two other men survived.

Complimentary tickets to the memorial service were made available on Tuesday and were almost instantly sold out. While it’s unclear how many tickets were available for the service, the Staples Center can hold as many as 21,000 people. 

In addition to ET's live steam, we'll also be live-blogging the memorial. Follow along with the live updates below.

Memorial Service Wraps Up, 25.5-Mile Funeral Procession to Begin

2:06 PM:

The memorial concluded with another video showcasing Hussle's life and legacy.

Now, a 25.5-mile procession will begin from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to the Forest Lawn Cemetery, where Hussle will be laid to rest.

Stevie Wonder on Gun Control: "It's Almost Like the World is Becoming Blind"

1:47 PM:

Before performing "Rocket Love" and "Tears in Heaven," Stevie Wonder gave a speech about the importance of taking action to change the gun laws in America.

"It is a heartbreak to again lose a member of our family. It's a heartbreak because it's so unnecessary," he said, referencing Hussle's tragic murder. "We, to be a civilized nation, civilized world, we are still living in a time where ego, anger, jealousy, is controlling our lives. It is so painful to know that we don't have enough people taking a position that say, 'Listen, we must have stronger gun laws.' It's unacceptable."

"It's almost like the world is becoming blind," he continued. "I pray that we will grow. I pray that the leaders who have a responsibility to perpetuate life will do it by making sure that the laws will make it so very hard for people to have guns and to take their frustrations out to kill life."

Wonder concluded the tribute by saying he is "very happy" that in his short life, Hussle was able to motivate people.

"I hope that it motivates us enough to say, 'Enough of people being killed by guns and violence,'" he added. "I hope that we don't just talk about it but we be about it -- make a difference for our future."

Snoop Dogg Remembers Hussle's Inspirational "Spirit of Love"

1:20 PM:

Snoop Dogg began his tribute by sending condolences to Hussle's family. "I want to send love to Lauren for being a real queen to our beloved King," he said. "If you need a hug, we're here for you. We love you, baby girl. We always have and always will."

He added, "And if it so happens to be that your kids die before you, Nipsey's mother prepared us for this day in the future."

Snoop continued on, explaining how he watched Hussle grow up right in front of him. "I still remember when he pushed up on me with his tape," he recalled. "Nipsey's line was, 'Hey homie, listen to my music. Just give it a listen.' [I said], 'That's it? No record deal?' To me he had vision."

"We ended up making music together, we created a brotherhood, a bond, something special," he continued. "One thing me and Nip had [in common] was a kind spirit. A spirit of love. When we met each other it was like a magnet coming together."

Sister of Hussle Says He "Always Encouraged" Her to Follow Her Dreams

1:14 PM:

Samantha Smith, sister of Hussle, said he "always encouraged" her and "still is."

"We're all spirits going through a human experience," she shared. "His story has already been written, and it is a story of love. What's your story?"

"On the way the GRAMMYs [this year] ... I whispered to him, 'The win is in making it to see another day,'" she continued. "And experienceing that moment he said, 'You're right.' And I hope I gave him that peace with that."

"Nip is immortalized, and now he is greater than ever," she concluded. "I am so proud of my bro."

Hussle's Father Dawit Asghedom Talks About His Son's Lasting Legacy

1:05 PM:

"At 33 years old he accomplished more than what [anyone can] accomplish," said Dawit Asghedom, Hussle's father. "Maybe he accomplished his mission..."

"We have to keep his legacy and the peace he brought [alive]," he continued. "We have to follow what he would want us to continue."

 

Hussle's Longtime Love Lauren London Gives Emotional Speech

12:56 PM:

As Lauren London took the stage, she told the audience, "Never was I prepared for anything like this."

"I had to write something because I've never felt this type of pain before. His soul was majestic. He was the strongest man that I ever knew," she explained of Hussle, calling him the "greatest" boyfriend. "He was brilliant. He researched everything; completely self-taught and always seeking knowledge."

"My pain is for my 2-year-old, who probably won't remember how much his dad loved him," she added. "I'm so honored and blessed that I got to experience such a man."

London continued on, explaining that she knows "everybody is hurting," but wanted to "say something" to her city of Los Angeles, and the community Hussle loved.

"This pain is really ours. We know what Nip meant to us," she said. "We lost an incredible soul. We lost a real one. We won't ever be the same."

"But in Hussle's words, 'The game is going to test you, never fold," she added. "What's in you, they can't take away, and he's in all of us."

Samuel Asghedom, Hussle's Brother, Says Rapper "Made the World Proud"

12:35 PM:

"We are all proud of him," said Hussle's brother, Samuel Asghedom. "He loved everybody and he loved who he grew up with, where he grew up. He just wanted to inspire and always bring something back."

"Nip was about demonstrating ... he appreciated [the love]. That s**t meant a lot to him. And that s**t meant a lot to me," he continued. "You made the world proud. Look at this s**t, bro. ... The whole family appreciates everything. I hope he knows how much I loved him. I know he loved me."

Hussle's Idol, Master P, Speaks to ET

12:25 PM:

ET caught up with Hussle's longtime music idol, Master P, in downtown Los Angeles, who called the rapper a "real soldier" before he headed into the service.

"[He was] somebody whose light is gonna spread around the world forever," he raved. "He touched so many people coming from hip-hop. I mean, he should have got this [recognition] when he was alive, with all the work that he's done."

"He's our angel now," he continued. "It seems like God really has a glow over this guy. So people are not mourning. People are like, 'You know what? It's time for a new beginning.' You be watching the gangs coming together for this guy. It's peace. Bloods, Crips, coming together and walking around Crenshaw, we never expected to see something like that. So that's how much love this man is loved around the world and in his own community."

Hussle's Mother, Angelique Smith, Says She Has "Perfect Peace"

11:57 AM:

Following Jhené Aiko's beautiful performance of "Eternal Sunshine," a video played, featuring old footage of Hussle as a kid. It then went into videos of Hussle as a teen, long before he became a star in the music industry.

Hussle's mother, Angelique Smith, then took to the stage to call on the family's ancestors to keep him company on his journey. "We ask them to be there and ask that they guide and protect the family," she said.

"I know that we are all divine creatures. We are all divinity within. We don't need to look to the sky for God; God is within us," Smith explained. "I have perfect peace. I'm happy. I am complete. I am strong. And if I can feel this way, so can you."

"We call on the creator of everything and on Mother Earth who sustains us," she added. "We call on the energies who guide and protect us as we make our way in life. We call on our ancestors to join us at this service."

Smith got emotional, as she said, "Everything is in perfect and divine order."

Hussle Honored By Longtime Love Lauren London and Kids

11:52 AM:

Hussle and his longtime love, Lauren London, shared a 2-year-old son, Kross, who appeared on stage during the memorial service. He was joined by Emani Asghedom, Hussle's 7-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, along with Cameron Carter, London's 9-year-old son with ex-boyfriend Lil Wayne.

As the kids made their way to the stage, the audience cheered as a way to show support. "Stay strong," one fan yelled. "We love you."

"On the night of April 2 I had a dream I was in paradise and I was playing in the ocean water [when behind me] I saw Ermias  ... He said, 'Whaddup killa? Cuz that's my nickname to him," Cameron shared. "I told my mom about the dream and after I told her I was thinking about it and I realized that Ermias told me what heaven was like. He told me it was paradise."

Anthony Hamilton Performs "Do You Feel Me"

11:30 AM:

After Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan spoke of the inspirational legacy Hussle leaves behind, saying, "We will fly away with him to a brighter tomorrow," GRAMMY Award-winning singer Anthony Hamilton performed "Do You Feel Me."
 

Barack Obama Pays Tribute to Hussle With Heartfelt Letter

11:15 AM:

At the beginning of the service, it was revealed that former president Barack Obama sent in a heartfelt letter, personally written Thursday morning.

"I've never met Nipsey but I've heard his music through my daughters," part of the letter read. "While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood [and see violence and gangs] ... Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope."

"His choice to invest in that community rather than to ignore it ... set an example for young people to follow," the letter continued. "I hope his memory inspires more good work in Crenshaw."

Marsha Ambrosius Delivers Beautiful Rendition of "Fly Like a Bird"

11:12 AM:

Marsha Ambrosius took the stage to deliver a beautiful rendition of Mariah Carey's "Fly Like a Bird."

"Keep your head to the sky, with God's love you'll survive," she sang. "Fly like a bird, take to the sky. I need you now, Lord. Carry me high."

"Don't let the world break me tonight," she continued. "I need the strength of You by my side."

Hussle Remembered With Photo Montage to Frank Sinatra's "My Way"

11:05 AM:

Following a scripture reading from Pastor Shep Crawford, Frank Sinatra's "My Way" played as a montage of photos of Hussle appeared on the screen.

"Father God, thank you for all these beautiful people who have come together in unity to celebrate the life of brother Nipsey," said Crawford. "We thank you, Lord, for his family ... we ask you now to give comfort to the family."

 

Hussle's Memorial Service Begins

10:56 AM:

The doors have opened, and celebrities are making their way inside the Staples Center to pay tribute to Hussle. So far G-Eazy, Big Sean, Big Boy, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Russell Westbrook and Meek Mill have all arrived for the event, according to TMZ. Fans also spotted Beyonce and JAY-Z in the crowd.

Musical ensemble 1500 Or Nothin' just took the stage, keeping everyone entertained as they continue to take their seats.

 

 

Celebrities Continue to Mourn Hussle

10:40 AM:

As fans begin to shuffle into Staples Center, celebrities on social media are continuing to pay tribute to Hussle, including Meek Mill, Rihanna and The Game.

Watch Hussle's Last Interview With ET

10:28 AM:

The service is expected to begin momentarily. Before the procession kicks off, take a look at our last interview with the music icon. We caught up with him earlier this year on the red carpet at the GRAMMYs.

"We got turned down, we failed, had setbacks, had to start over a lot of times," he said. "But we kept going at it. In anybody’s case that's always the distinguishing factor."

 

Pallbearers Revealed

10:17 AM:

ET has learned that the following people will serve as pallbearers once the service begins:


Samiel Asghedom, brother of Hussle

Adam Andebrhan, co-owned Marathon Clothing store with Hussle

Dawit Asghedom – father of Hussle

Kelion Sutton – collaborated with Hussle as a writer for one of his tracks

Evan "Rimpau" McKenzie – a member of Hussle's rap collective

Jorge Peniche - Hussle's tour manager

Jonathan Belvin – starred in a movie with Hussle

 

Fans Pay Respect Outside Staples Center

10:03 AM:

More than 20,000 people are expected to pay tribute to Hussle in Los Angeles today, as a way to honor the late music icon one more time.

ET has been chatting with fans waiting in line outside the Staples Center, who are talking about all the ways Hussle has personally impacted their lives.

"We really lost someone that was pushing the culture," one fan exclaimed. 

Order of Service

10:00 AM:

Shortly before the service kicked off, a fan on social media posted a photo of the order of service. 

According to the pamphlet, there will be performances by Marsha Ambrosius, Anthony Hamilton, Jhené Aiko and Stevie Wonder. The memorial will also feature family tributes from Hussle's longtime girlfriend, Lauren London, as well as Snoop Dogg and Big Boy.

Hussle -- whose real name is Ermias Asghedom -- is survived by 34-year-old model and actress Lauren London, whom he had been dating since 2013. The couple shared a 2-year-old son Kross together, and he also had a 7-year-old daughter named Emani from a previous relationship. London spoke to The New York Times on Tuesday and said she would always "represent" for him. 

"He was a protector and wanted us to be our best at all times," London said. "He was a truth seeker and truth speaker."

"I'm going to keep my head high and always represent for my king to the fullest," she continued. "He loved his kids. He was a family man. His family came first."

For more on Hussle's death, watch the video below:

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