The memorial for slain rapper Nipsey Hussle brought thousands to Staples Center, from fans who grew up in his neighborhood to big-name celebrities.
Among those spotted at the memorial were Usher, Snoop Dogg, Puff Daddy, Meek Mill, Pusha T, Big Sean and 2 Chainz.
The program includes tributes from his brother, longtime girlfriend Lauren London, music mogul Jay Z, rapper YG, actress Issa Rae and basketball player Russell Westbrook.
Lights inside the arena were dimmed as tracks from Hussle’s Grammy-nominated album “Victory Lap” played. Fans — some dressed in blue and others wearing shirts from Hussle’s clothing brand with “Crenshaw” scribbled on the front — slowly filled the cavernous space.
Amanda Stephens, 25, was running on adrenaline and no sleep when she rushed through the 7th Street Metro center in downtown Los Angeles just after 8 a.m., switching trains amid the morning commuters.
“I couldn’t miss Nip,” she said as she took her seat on a Blue Line train for the short ride to Staples Center. Stephens, who was still wearing her security guard uniform, had finished an overnight shift in North Hollywood an hour before and was headed directly to the memorial. She said she planned to stash her backpack in a friend’s car on the walk from Pico Station.
“You know, this is about to be crazy,” she said.
“This is history,” Chris Deshotel, 30, interjected from across the train aisle. Deshotel and two friends were also on their way to the memorial.
Stephens said that it had been “a rough week.”
“I really had to take his videos and stuff in increments,” she said. “I thought, ‘OK, I’ve done too much Nip for today. I need to tune out.’”
But the Watts native said she was “done crying.” Today was about celebrating Hussle’s life and legacy.