The Marathon Medal: Nipsey Hussle to Be Honored With Humanitarian Award at 2019 BET Awards

Nipsey Hussle greets kids at the Nipsey Hussle x PUMA Hoops Basketball Court Refurbishment Reveal Event on October 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Jerritt Clark (Getty Images for PUMA)

Along with his business acumen and music, Nipsey Hussle (born Ermias Asghedom) was known for his humanitarian spirit. Locals lovingly called him “Neighborhood Nip.” It’s one of the main reasons why the marathon shall, indeed, continue.

As writer Sonya Magett perfectly expressed in her April list of hip-hop artists carrying Nipsey’s legacy through their own activism:

Among Hussle’s many notable accomplishments: the February purchase of the shopping plaza in his South Central neighborhood where his Marathon Clothing store is located; his support of Destination Crenshaw, a new arts project, open-air museum and outdoor art and culture center celebrating black Los Angeles. Hussle donated shoes to and funded the renovation of a Crenshaw elementary school’s playground and basketball courts. He launched Too Big To Fail as part of a partnership with Vector90 which led to the opening of a coworking space for a STEM initiative for local youth. There were plans in the works to duplicate the program in Atlanta, Baltimore, and Chicago. He also owned several other businesses and real estate.

“I just want to give back in an effective way,” Hussle told the Los Angeles Times. “I remember being young and really having the best intentions and not being met on my efforts … you see no structures or infrastructure built and you get a little frustrated.”

Hussle wasn’t just a musician, he was a movement.

A movement, indeed. As this year is especially dedicated to uplifting his legacy, BET will be honoring Nipsey with its 2019 Humanitarian Award, to be presented at the 2019 BET Awards ceremony. It’ll be extra special since the award will be presented in his hometown of Los Angeles.

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“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 activist,” Connie Orlando, Executive Vice-President, Head of Programming at BET, said via press release.

“His passing was a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry and to the culture,” she continued. “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. It is an immense honor for us to recognize him with this year’s Humanitarian Award.”

In addition to the posthumous award, the ceremony will include a tribute to the beloved rapper and philanthropist featuring DJ Khaled, YG, John Legend, and DJ Mustard.

Nipsey Hussle died on March 31, 2019, after he was shot multiple times outside of his Marathon Clothing store in South LA. He was 33 years old.

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The 19th Annual BET Awards will be held at The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 23, 2019, and will air live on BET at 8 p.m. ET.

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.