Tens of thousands of people took part in an emotional memorial Thursday in Los Angeles for the slain rapper Nipsey Hussle, whose musical peers took turns hailing his talent and tireless community organizing.
The Staples Center arena was packed to the rafters for the ceremony, and many others watched on television and online as the city bid farewell to the Grammy-nominated artist, shot in broad daylight on March 31
Police have said the killing, which triggered an outpouring of grief in Los Angeles and among his music industry peers, was gang related and personal in nature.
Crowds of mostly young blacks and Latinos wearing T-shirts with pictures of the 33-year-old rapper started early Thursday to flow toward the Staples Center, the sports arena which hosted a memorial service for Michael Jackson back in 2009.
Some 21,000 seats were offered for free on the internet and were snapped up in a matter of minutes.
The crowd was so big the ceremony started an hour late — with a DJ playing Hussle’s hit album “Victory Lap,” which earned him a Grammy nod.
One after another, speakers took to the podium to remember the slain singer as pictures of his life were shown on a screen on stage to the sound of “My Way” by Frank Sinatra.
In a letter read out at the ceremony, former president Barack Obama remembered the singer, whose music he got to know through his two young daughters.
“He set an example for young people to follow and is a legacy worthy to follow,” Obama wrote, alluding to the singer’s social work in the poor and mainly black Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles.
After the ceremony a procession was to wind its way through that neighborhood for people to pay their last respects, with thousands of fans already lining the route.
Eric Holder, 29, has been arrested for the murder. He has pleaded not guilty. The reasons for the killing are not known.
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"Last night was a historic win that I think a lot of us are still struggling to understand," Giridharadas explained. "It's historic because we may be seeing that we are paddling through a bend of a river in history here. Something is happening in America right now that actually does not fit our mental models."
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During a fairly contentious panel discussion on the viability of Sanders as a candidate due to self-identifying as a democratic socialist, Kumar claimed that would not play well Florida's Latino community.
"All I can think about when David [Corn] was unpacking it for us, we can all agree is you can kiss Florida goodbye," she explained. "I say that, Floridians -- Latinos that have fled socialism, they have fled and they are in Florida and they have sensibilities that are different from the rest of the Latino community."