When former President Barack Obama paid tribute to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle via a letter at the star's emotional memorial in Los Angeles on Thursday, he revealed that he was familiar with the artist thanks to his teen daughters, Malia and Sasha. Media strategist Karen Civil, a close friend of Nipsey's family, read out a personal letter written by President Obama on behalf of wife Michelle Obama and himself.
"I'd never met Nipsey Hussle, but I'd heard 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," the letter began. President Obama went on to praise the admired music star's efforts to raise up his community.
Nipsey and his partner, Lauren London at the Grammys. Sasha and Malia Obama were fans of the rapper, and introduced their dad to his music
"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 his memory inspires more good work in Crenshaw and communities like it."
Stevie Wonder performed at the Staples Center memorial
Thousands of fans packed into L.A.'s Staples Center on Thursday to pay their respects to the Last Time That I Checc'd star, who was killed outside his Los Angeles clothing store on March 31. Pastor Shep Crawford delivered a prayer in the 33-year-old's memory, as his young family – Lauren London, and their two-year-old son Kross, and his daughter Emani, from a previous relationship – looked on. The memorial also included tributes from from Anthony Hamilton, Snoop Dogg and Stevie Wonder.