Detroit remembers slain rapper and activist Nipsey Hussle

Detroit remembers slain rapper and activist Nipsey Hussle
Detroit remembers Nipsey Hussle (Photo credit: Qiana M Davis)

Detroiters flocked to Cadillac Square Park in downtown Detroit this week to pay homage to fallen rapper, entrepreneur and community activist Nipsey Hussle. Vigils have popped up in various cities across the country since the Grammy nominee’s fatal shooting outside his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles sparked outrage and tributes across social media.

Less than 24 hours after posting online, the Nipsey Hussle Detroit vigil brought out hundreds of fans and supporters on Wednesday night, April 3, 2019, to celebrate the music and legacy of the man and mogul known as “Neighborhood Nipsey.”

Hot 102.7 FM radio crew hyped up the crowd, while a few of Nipsey Hussle’s classics blasted in the background. Detroit hip-hop artist Snap Dogg took advantage of all the positive vibes to film his latest music video in dedication to his fallen idol. As candles lit the night sky, the crowd joined in a few brief moments of silence, followed by a prayer before erupting in cheers.

It was time to turn up for Nipsey. The moment was about more to fans than paying their respects. It was about unifying and celebrating a man whose life symbolized the love he had for his family, his community and his culture.

“We wanted to bring people together for a hip-hop legend,” Detroit promoter Justin Floyd, who organized the vigil, told the Detroit Free Press. “Nipsey had a lot of love in the city. He did a lot of things for his community. … The senseless killing has to stop.”

Born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, Nipsey Hussle was wise beyond his years. In interviews, he often promoted real estate investment and business ownership over flossing flashy diamond chains and buying luxury cars. He never let his past with the Crips-affiliated gang, the Rollin’ 60s, or the violence glorified in his lyrics define him. Instead, it became his platform for change and reform.

From partnering with DJ Khaled to bid for ownership of the Viceroy Santa Monica (a 162-room luxury beach hotel) to opening Vector 90, a co-working space and STEM center in his native Crenshaw, Nipsey’s business ventures were as inspiring as his activism. Ironically, the “Victory Lap” rapper set up a meeting with the Los Angeles Police Department to discuss ending the same gang violence that many still speculate may be linked to his untimely demise.

Actor and rapper Dr. Christian Mathis aka Detroit hip-hop legend Trick Trick hopes Nipsey’s fans heed his teachings and keep his legacy alive.

“Nip was family. It saddens my soul, knowing that a righteous leader can be taken away from us. I can only hope that all of the attention and ‘love’ that Nip is receiving in his demise is not just another ‘trending death’ or a reason for likes and views, but a message,” Mathis said. “I can only hope that his legacy would live long [after] those who burn candles and recite lyrics. Long live Nip.”

Check out photos from this week’s vigil in Detroit below.

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