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Fresno fans mourn community activist rapper Nipsey Hussle

From his Facebook page:

Fans and community members gather in Downtown Fresno Friday night for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Nipsey Hussle.

FRESNO, CA - News of the death of Grammy-nominated, beloved rapper, community activist, visionary, and father Nipsey Hussle last Sunday has traveled from his Los Angeles (LA) Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and resided to mourning fans and friends in Downtown Fresno, CA. More than 100 people showed up to an impromptu candlelight vigil in Cultural Arts District Park co-hosted by Stop the Violence and Taking A Stand organizations.

Fans came out Friday night to remember the music, the voice and the community works of the slain 33-year-old musical artist and business owner, Nipsey Hussle. He was also known as a dedicated father to his two children, Kross and Emani, and he was in a dedicated relationship with actress and model, Lauren London.

Hussle’s debut studio album, “Victory Lap,” was nominated for best rap album at the Grammys last year, and debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard chart. South LA millennial Hussle who grew up during the 90s, was known for his positive rap slant, letting young people know they can get out of the ghetto legitimately through knowing business—he started by selling unsigned mixtapes out of the trunk of his car.

In his South Los Angeles community, Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was shot and killed last week in front of store he co-owned, Marathon Clothing.

His birth name, “Ermias” meaning “God is risen,” originated from his father’s homeland Eritrea, a tiny country in Eastern African of about 5 million people. Nipsey Hussle adapted his stage name from Nipsey Russell, an iconic black comedian and actor.

In a press conference last Tuesday, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel R. Moore said the fatal shooting arose from a personal dispute with aspiring rapper, and confirmed gang-member, 29-year-old Eric Holder of Los Angeles, CA; police do not believe the shooting was gang-related. Holder approached and spoke with Hussle and the two other men present. Moore said that Holder returned multiple times before opening fire, shooting Hussle in the head and torso—Holder, also known by rap names, “Shitty Cuz,” and “Fly Mac,” will be represented by attorney Chris Darden, who was part of the infamous, racially charged O.J. Simpson Trial on the side of the prosecution.

Hussle, a former member of the Rollin 60’s Crip gang, was going to meet with the LA police chief, and a member of the Police Commission to talk about ways to reduce gang violence the very next day before he was gunned down. He had also been working with community leaders to reduce violence in his Crenshaw neighborhood.

Fresno fans of many diverse backgrounds reminisced not only on Hussle’s music, but on his community pride: he financially invested in his Crenshaw neighborhood and often encourage young people to get into building their own businesses; he co-owned the strip mall that housed the Marathon Clothing store , and he eventually wanted build a residential and retail complex there that would be the catalyst for revitalizing his neglected neighborhood, according to a Los Angeles Times article.

“He was encouraging to me,” said young adult Rodnika Murphy. “I went to the bookstore and bought over $200 worth of books on business and how to start a business. I learned so much from him.”

Hussle started a business venture called Vector 90, a co-working space for entrepreneurs wanting to start their businesses. He also owned half the lot and half the businesses on it, including a basic needs store, incoming barbershop and seafood restaurant and The Marathon Clothing Store,

A Celebration of the Life & Legacy of Nipsey Hussle will be held Thursday, April 11 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.

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