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Nipsey Hussle may be gone but he will never, ever be forgotten.
Though the rapper, born Ermias Asghedom, was shot and killed in late March outside his South L.A. clothing store, the 33-year-old left an immeasurable imprint on the community. And on Sunday, during the 2019 BET Awards, the musician was honored for his work with the Humanitarian Award.
T.I. began the tribute with a speech praising his late friend. “There will never be another Nipsey Hussle,” he began. “He was a revolutionary. His emphasis on the power of equity and ownership of our art led the charge of independence and created a blueprint for other kind of artists today to follow…He inspired people across the world while never abandoning the community and culture that raised him. it’s been nearly three months since we lost Nip and many are still discovering how legendary he really was.”
“He was a real one, a true king simply concerned with promoting human welfare, uplifting those around him,” continued the artist. “As a prolific artist his lyrics and interviews are immensely powerful but his actions spoke even louder. Nip proved that your life is your canvas and your body of work is your legacy.”
Nipsey’s family, including his girlfriend Lauren London and mom Angelique Smith, accepted the award in his honor.
“I was so amazed at how much love was out in the world for him that you uplifted me,” his grandmother Margaret Boutte said. “Thank you so much world for loving him.”
Before the live show, Connie Orlando, Executive Vice-President and Head of Programming at BET, remembered the late artist and his impact.
“As a prolific artist and leader, Nipsey Hussle was zealous about driving change for the betterment of his community, empowering and employing those in need and being an influential and highly respected leader,” Orlando said in a statement. “His passing was a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry and to the culture. We will continue to remember his advocacy and be inspired by the groundwork he set forth and his dire commitment to social change.”
“We are forever grateful, humbled and honored to have experienced his presence and we are invested in doing our part to ensure that the marathon will indeed continue,” the statement concluded. “It is an immense honor for us to recognize him with this year’s Humanitarian Award.”