Los Angeles-area Rep. Karen Bass honored Nipsey Hussle on the House floor and entered the slain rapper’s contributions to the South Los Angeles community that raised him into the congressional record on Wednesday.
Nipsey was gunned down — allegedly by an aspiring rapper — March 31 inside the Slauson Avenue shopping plaza he bought in February, outside the Marathon clothing store he established to reinvest in the area in 2017. He was 33 years old.
Bass is a Democrat whose district encompasses several neighborhoods southwest of downtown L.A., including the Hyde Park neighborhood where Nipsey was born, raised and killed.
In celebrating him on the House floor, Bass described the Grammy-nominated artist as a “humble visionary” who “saw the overlooked and welcomed the dismissed.”
“Nipsey Hussle used the platform he created with his music to lift our community as he climbed,” she said. “His business ventures, his investments, his philanthropy, his community engagement — every step of the way, he had a sole purpose of bettering the community he came from.”
In the text the congresswoman entered into government record, she recounts how the rapper educated his community about their economic power. Nipsey often touted that he owned his master recordings, and used the money to reinvest in music and community.
He also gave jobs to people in the neighborhood who were homeless and formerly incarcerated, rebuilt basketball courts at his onetime campus — 59th Street Elementary School — and once gave every student there a new pair of shoes. He was also behind Vector90, a STEM center and co-working space for youth, among numerous other projects.
“He reminded our community that the power we hold is the power of where we come from and that the awareness of that power can never be taken from us,” Bass said.
The afternoon after he was shot, Nipsey had a meeting scheduled with Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore and head of the Police Commission, Steve Soboroff, to discuss ways to stop violence in South L.A.
The congresswoman said Angelenos will remember the slain rapper as a protector, inspiration, father, brother and “unabashed son of South Los Angeles.”
“For all he was given, he gave back,” she said. “And for that legacy, South Los Angeles has been changed forever.”
His mark on the community will be made permanently visible in the renaming of the Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard intersection as Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom Square, Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said Tuesday.
The rapper was also behind the naming of Destination Crenshaw, a 1.3-mile outdoor art and culture complex under development that’s meant to revitalize the heart of black L.A., Harris-Dawson told the Los Angeles Times.
In an essay he penned late last year for Players’ Tribune, Nipsey said his focus on community reinvestment was a “reflection of where my mind’s at and where my heart’s at.”
“I understand my obligation — I got an obligation to my community first, my family first, to hoods like L.A. all around the country who live for the culture,” he said. “That’s part of the game, the way I see it. I have a duty to justify the seat that I’m sitting in. Nobody has any success on his own.”
“Crenshaw made me,” he wrote. “So I’ll always be in Crenshaw.”