Stevie Wonder Honors Nipsey Hussle, Calls for Gun Control at Memorial: 'It Is a Heartbreak'
"Love you, Nipsey. God bless you," Stevie Wonder said at the slain rapper's public celebration of life
Stevie Wonder honored Nipsey Hussle’s life and fulfilled the late rapper’s wish.
After Hussle’s family and girlfriend Lauren London paid tribute to the slain rapper at the Staples Center, Wonder, 68, took the stage.
“I had the pleasure through someone I was very close to … who arranged a meeting for myself to have a meeting with him for us to talk,” the singer said of meeting the rapper. “It is a heartbreak to again lose a member of our family. It is a heartbreak because it’s so unnecessary.”
Wonder went on to call for gun control. “We, to be a civilized nation, civilized world, we still are living in a time where ego, anger, jealousy is controlling our lives. It is so painful to know that we don’t have enough people taking a position that says: ‘Listen, we must have stronger gun laws. It’s unacceptable.'”
Wonder added: “It’s almost like the world is becoming blind. … I pray that we grow; I pray that the leaders who have a responsibility to perpetuate life will do it by making sure that the laws will make it so very hard for people to have guns and to take their frustrations out.”
Wonder then sang “Rocket Love” in addition to Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven,” which he ended by saying: “Love you, Nipsey. God bless you.”
Just before the ceremony began, The Blast broke the news that Wonder would be singing “Rocket Love,” a track from his 1980 album Hotter Than July. The performance fulfilled Hussle’s longtime wish, which he outlined in his 2016 track “Ocean Views.”
“Then when I die, blue rag around my rifle/ Hunnid thousand in my coffin, that’s just light dough,” he rapped on the song. “Play a Stevie Wonder song, smoke some flight bro/ Crack a pint of Act then pour in some Sprite bro.”
Wonder also performed at Aretha Franklin’s funeral in August 2018.
Rapper YG and producer DJ Mustard were also named honorary pallbearers for Hussle, according to the memorial pamphlet obtained by The Blast.
Hussle, 33, died from gunshot wounds of both the head and torso on March 31, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed. “Paramedics were called and [Hussle who was born Ermias Joseph Asghedom] was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.,” the coroner said, in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Hussle is survived by his two children: daughter Emani from a previous relationship and son Kross, 2, with his girlfriend, actress Lauren London, 34.
London spoke at the memorial, saying in part: “To Ermias, the love of my life. You know what it is. Grief is the final act of love. My heart hears you, I feel you everywhere. I’m so grateful that I had you. I love you beyond this Earth. Until we meet again, the Marathon continues.”
She previously paid tribute to her boyfriend of five years on Instagram, sharing a slideshow of photos of them together with their family. “I am completely lost,” London wrote. “I’ve lost my best friend, my sanctuary, my protector, my soul. We are lost without you babe — I have no words.”
Eric Holder, 29, has since been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a release from the Los Angeles County’s District Attorney’s Office.
On April 4, he entered a plea of not guilty in court. Holder could face a maximum sentence of life in state prison if convicted.
Holder has hired attorney Chris Darden, who famously was part of the prosecution team in O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, according to CBSLA.