Procession Of A President — Nipsey’s Victory Lap Around The City
I didn’t realize it until I reached Slauson and Crenshaw that afternoon. This was really a historic day in the city of Los Angeles. April 11, 2019.
Nipsey Hussle was murdered on March 31. A week and a half has past. I have seen thousands of people flock to his store. I have seen thousands of social media posts about his life. I have seen media reports from all over the country talking about his death. I have seen many stories written about his music and his influence. I have seen vigils being held in every major city in the country, if not the world.
But in the city, this past week has been nothing like I’ve ever seen.
A march was organized to his store that consisted of various street gang members from all over the LA area. Some have been enemies for decades. Not years, but decades. So for people not aware, they applauded the march as a way of peace. But for people that knew the history? This was something that they never thought that they would see in their lifetime. Never.
There was a manhunt for the person being charged with the murder. I’m not qualified to speak on some of the information that I’ve heard about what transpired before his arrest. But I can say that there was definitely a manhunt looking for him that not only included the police, but pretty much most of the gangs in the area before he turned himself in.
And as popular as Nipsey was in his community and amongst his fans, there were still people that not only were unfamiliar with his music, but unfamiliar with him existing at all.
But on April 11, everybody was going to see just how important Nipsey was (and still is).
I tried to get tickets to his funeral being held at the Staples Center, but they sold out quickly. The official word is that they were sold out in 20 minutes. I’m thinking it was more like 5 minutes. I wasn’t surprised.
There has been one other funeral held in the Staples Center. That was Michael Jackson. The biggest artist in the history of music. Rare company, to say the least.
I spent most of the morning driving around the city, handling various tasks. But the sounds that I heard from people’s car was all of Nipsey’s music. And I had been hearing it everyday since he passed. And in every corner of the city.
“Grinding All My Life” on Crenshaw & Washington
“Double Up” on Slauson & La Brea
“Status Symbol” on Figueroa & Vernon
“Ocean Views” on Hollywood & Vine
“Who Detached Us” on Century & La Cienega
“Hussle In The House” on Ventura & Van Nuys
“Checc Me Out” on Venice & Pacific
“Rap Niggas” on Sunset & Alvarado
“Blessings” on Spring & 6th
“Faith” on Reseda & Sherman
And “Last Time That I Checc’d” is now one of the official anthems of Los Angeles.
I figured the funeral would be live-streamed online. But I was surprised to see that all the local channels were showing live feeds as well.
I didn’t watch the funeral, but I was constantly checking to see when it was over. The funeral procession was going to go all through South Central before reaching the Angelus Funeral Home.
As soon as I finished what I was doing, I headed over to Crenshaw & Slauson. This was around 2pm. Intersection is shut down. The parking lot at the Ralphs grocery store has people double and triple parked in their lot. I estimate that there is probably 2,000 people, just near that intersection alone.
The crowd is full of people wearing Nipsey tribute shirts. Some are officially from his clothing line. Most of them are bootleg shirts people have made. I see one woman with a picture of Nipsey and Lauren London on her jean jacket with the word “True Love” near the bottom. I, myself, am wearing a white hoodie sweatshirt with a picture of Nip smiling. A lot of people stop and ask me where I got it from.
There’s about 4 or 5 police cars blocking the intersection, meant to clear a path for the procession when it comes through. One person hops on one of the cars to get a better view. Then other people join in. Now there’s about 12 people standing on a police vehicle. I figured that was my cue to leave that area.
It’s now 4 o’clock. I’m not getting good service on my phone, so I can’t check social media. I think there’s too many phones in the area, so my signal is getting jammed. And now my battery is about to die. I go back to my car and head over to funeral home, hoping it’s a calmer situation and less people.
I reach the corner of Crenshaw & 39th. There’s about 1,000 people at this intersection too, but much calmer. I post up right next to the bus stop. They haven’t stopped traffic yet over here. Some of the buses have “NIP” on their signs. One truck rides through that had “RIP Nipsey Hussle” written on the side of cab in blue tape. Lot of honking in support of Nip.
It’s now 6:30. The crowd has now doubled. I walk down toward Crenshaw and King, figuring I would get a better view of the procession there. People have now just parked on Crenshaw, taking up the whole right lane of the street.
It’s a little after 7pm when I hear the motorcycles. Not sure if they were a part of the plan to lead the procession, but they are now. And all kind of motorcycles. Harley’s, dirtbikes, Kawasakis, ATV’s. The sound is crazy.
It is now dusk, so the sun is about to set. Perfect lighting for the scene. All of the headlights from the motorcycles make Crenshaw look amazing.
And then the hearse appears.
It’s painted silver. Nice rims. The roof covered in flowers.
For those that know me, I tend to me on the more reserved side. But when I see the hearse, I get emotional. I yell out “NIPSEY!”
I think about everything at once. His music. His influence. His store. His neighborhood. His place in the world of Hip Hop. His place in Los Angeles. His place in the world.
I think about how he just ended a funeral procession that went 25 miles through the city and took close to 6 hours to complete.
I realize that this is a historic moment. This is the type of thing that we do for presidents when they die. Closest thing I could think of are the stories I heard of when Bobby Kennedy funeral procession across the country.
This was history. Nipsey did it. He was the President of Crenshaw & Slauson. The President of South Central.
And I yelled out his name again “Nipsey”, and just smiled. Just like the other thousands of people yelled and smiled when the casket drove by.
It’s now Saturday morning. I wanted to let a day past before I wrote this.
I’m still processing what happened. I still get emotional thinking about certain things.
But there are certain things that are now facts:
- There are only two people to have a funeral at the Staples Center. Michael Jackson & Nipsey Hussle.
- There are only three instances in which over 20 miles of the roads in LA are closed off for an event. The Los Angeles Marathon, the transfer of the Space Shuttle to the Science Center in 2012, and Nipsey Hussle’s funeral procession.
- Crenshaw & Slauson is officially now known as Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom Square.
I got to witness a historic moment that represents the life of a truly historic human being.
And as I write this on this nice LA Saturday morning, I open up the window and what do I hear on the street?
“Hussle In The House”
RIP Nipsey Hussle.
Written By Reggie Reagor © April 13, 2019