Read Barack Obama’s tribute to Nipsey Hussle

Barack Obama wrote a tribute to Nipsey Hussle that was read by hip-hop executive Karen Civil during the late rapper’s memorial service at Staples Center in Los Angeles today. The reading came after a moving performance by singer Marsha Ambrosius, who sang Mariah Carey’s “Fly Like a Bird.” Obama’s speech follows in full:

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 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.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

PHOTOS: Rapper Nipsey Hussle before his death

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Rapper Nipsey Hussle
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Nipsey Hussle attends the Warner Music Pre-Grammy Party at the NoMad Hotel on February 7, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: CraSH/imageSPACE/MediaPunch /IPX
Rapper Nipsey Hussle watches an NBA basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday, March 29, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 10: Nipsey Hussle attends the 61st Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Nipsey Hussle attends Nipsey Hussle Grammy Celebration at The Peppermint Club on February 8, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Nipsey Hussle attends Nipsey Hussle Grammy Celebration at The Peppermint Club on February 8, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Nipsey Hussle attends the Warner Music Pre-Grammy Party at the NoMad Hotel on February 7, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Warner Music)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 14: Rapper Nipsey Hussle performs onstage during day one of the Rolling Loud Festival at Banc of California Stadium on December 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 10: Rapper Nipsey Hussle attends A Craft Syndicate Music Collaboration Unveiling Event at Opera Atlanta on December 10, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.(photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage)
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