Last Night: A Nipsey Hussle Vigil in Houston

A lot of people filled up Midtown Park to pay their respects to Nipsey Hussle Wednesday night.
A lot of people filled up Midtown Park to pay their respects to Nipsey Hussle Wednesday night. Photo by Doogie Roux
Nipsey Hussle Vigil
Midtown Park
April 3, 2019

Midtown Park sits in between Travis and Main Street, resting under the shadow of an unfinished high rise, the foundation of which was poured just a short year ago. The area around the park has been the subject of a redevelopment and, even though much in the area has changed, the city has still continued to funnel resources into the project to maximize its potential.

Yesterday the park played host to a vigil for Los Angles rapper, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and community activist Ermias Joseph Asghedom better known as Nipsey Hussle, who was shot to death Sunday in South Los Angeles. The memorial was organized by Trae the Truth and DJ Mr. Rogers, two Houstonians known for their contributions to the community. Since forming Relief Gang in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey the two have taken the lead in helping countless communities and individuals affected by natural disasters.

“I was going to go out to LA…I was going to go out there for this” explained Trae in a baritone drawl as he stood in front of the park’s growing crowd. “But I realized that Nipsey had so much love here in Houston, so we had to do something here.”

The love he described brought people from all walks of life together in Midtown to celebrate the life of a man who had accomplished so much, and mourn the loss of a figure who, much like the area, had still not reached his full potential.

click to enlarge Painting his respects. - PHOTO BY DOOGIE ROUX
Painting his respects.
Photo by Doogie Roux

Since releasing his first mixtapes in 2005, Asghedom had opened multiple businesses focused on bringing services, goods, and jobs to his local community. The news of his senseless and untimely death sent shockwaves through the nation with many people coming forward to speak on the businessman’s influence and yesterday’s vigil was no exception. Nipsey’s music provided the soundtrack as visual artists, DJ’s, attorneys, motivational speakers, reverends, rappers, and others shared the stage and spoke on what Nipsy’s life and legacy meant to them.

“Nipsey was the blueprint of a man,” exclaimed Willie D as he paced the stage and addressed the audience. “He was everything a man was supposed to be.”

It was a sentiment that was echoed throughout the night by the speakers who highlighted Nipsey’s strong investment in his people, his focus on building businesses, and his loyalty to family.

His music provided the soundtrack for live painters who recreated his image on blank canvases as onlookers watched. A young man draped in red bounced along with the bass from “Dedication” as he unraveled the strings of silver balloons that spelled out Nipsey. A mother sat by the parked and rocked her baby as “Ocean Views” drifted through the cool air. As the day turned to dusk hundreds of balloons were passed out and Trae counted down to one signaling the release of the blue and white orbs into the sky.

The night came to a close with a heartfelt prayer from J Dawg who expressed his love and admiration for the fallen Los Angeles rapper. As darkness settled over everyone, cell phone flashlights illuminated the park as chants of “Nipsey” rang through the air.

click to enlarge Hundreds of balloons sailed into the sky. - PHOTO BY DOOGIE ROUX
Hundreds of balloons sailed into the sky.
Photo by Doogie Roux
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Houston Press contributor DeVaughn Douglas is a freelance writer, blogger, and podcaster. He is 1/2 of the In My Humble Opinion Podcast and 1/1 of the Sleep and Procrastination Society. (That last one isn't a podcast; he just procrastinates and sleeps a lot.)