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'The Habesha Community Lost Royalty Today': Young Eritreans Mourn the Loss of Nipsey Hussle

"I'm half American and half Eritrean—as much as I am a black person from America, I am a black person from Africa too."

The utter shock continues to reverberate as the world mourns the loss of Eritrean-American rapper Nipsey Hussle. The Grammy-nominated artist, entrepreneur and community builder was killed March 31st in front of his store Marathon Clothing in Los Angeles.

He was 33 years old.

"Extremely saddened to hear the news of the tragic and untimely death of iconic recording artist/entrepreneur Ermias Asgedom (Nipsey Hussle)," Yemane G. Meskel, Eritrea's minister of information, tweets. "RIP and condolences to his family."

Born Ermias Davidson Asghedom to an African American mother and Eritrean father, he was very proud of his upbringing and heritage. As Abraham T. Zere notes for Africa Is A Country, his pride is one of the many examples of notables in entertainment who have been reconnecting to their African roots and made it so "public and explicit."


In a March 2018 interview with Dallas-based radio station 97.9 The Beat, Nispey reflects on meeting his Eritrean family for the first time:

"I went out there for three months in 2003—met my granny for the first time, met my cousins, so it definitely had a major impact. I was raised in LA by my mom, my mom's family is Black American, but I always knew my heritage from my dad, but I never met my family. My dad was the only one in America—everybody else is back home. So when I went out there, it educated me to the other side...it just gave me an understanding of what my dad's life was like growing up, what his family was like. I got embraced and they loved me and I became aware of the culture. I'm half American and half Eritrean—as much as I am a black person from America, I am a black person from Africa too. I embraced both sides of that after I went out there."

He returned to his fatherland a few months after his interview in May. Check out his appearance on the "Open Mic" program on ERi-TV below where he speaks on his sense of pride knowing the history of his country:

ERi-TV: Interview with Nipsey Hussle Eritrean-American Recording Artist & Entrepreneur youtu.be

Fellow young Eritreans, Ethiopians, folks from neighboring countries, as well as just Africans worldwide have been reflecting on the impact he's had as one of the few to represent the habesha community in such a profound way.

Here are a few reactions that hit home:











Keep up with the developments around this tragedy, via our sister platform Okayplayer, here.

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Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Thandiswa Mazwai to Host 'Play Your Part Africa' Virtual Concert

'King Tha' will commemorate Africa Day with a virtual concert set to take place on May 30th.