LOS ANGELES - Former President Barack Obama wrote a letter honoring Nipsey Hussle and it was read during the rapper's memorial service at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles Thursday.
Karen Civil, a business partner of Hussle's, spoke during the service and read the letter from Obama.
In the letter, Obama said while he'd never met Hussle, his daughters had introduced him to the rapper's music. After the 33-year-old's death, Obama said he learned about Hussle's dedication to making South Los Angeles a better place.
“While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and only see 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,” the letter said.
After her speech, Civil shared a photo of Obama's letter on Twitter.
Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, was shot and killed in front of his Marathon Clothing store on March 31. Thousands of fans and notable public figures expressed their love and condolences for the rapper following news of his death.
The full text of the letter is also shared below:
Dear Friends and Family of Nipsey:
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.
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.
Michelle and I send our sympathies to Lauren, Emani, Kross and the entire Asghedom family and to all those who loved Nipsey.