Today, I grieved. I grieved for a man whom I didn't know. I grieved for a recording artist. I grieved for a philanthropist and community activist. I grieved for a community hero. I grieved for a Crip. I grieved for a man who loved his community and invested heavily to ensure those who would normally not be employable because of their criminal records, were. I grieved for a legal marijuana dispensary owner. I grieved for a cryptocurrency investor. I grieved for a man who took Crenshaw and put them on his back. I grieved for a brother who ensured that both his brother and sister were able to start their own businesses to begin creating generational wealth. I grieved for a friend. I grieved for a son whose mother with the calmest voice was able to soothe the souls of thousands. I grieved for a wife who experienced love at it's deepest depths that one could only wish they'd experience or you'd read about in some black novel. I grieved for three children who will no longer have their father there to tell them just how great and loved they are as he burns sage around them before taking them to school. I grieved for the culture, who has not felt this great a loss since Michael Jackson or even Tupac. Today, I grieved.
I first heard about Nipsey Hussle two years ago when we started on our cryptocurrency investment journey. I'm not sure what put him on my radar, but I remember looking him up and seeing how he started the clothing store and purchased the shopping center that the owners threatened to close because of the unsavory traffic it attracted from known gang affiliates, etc. I was especially intrigued by the opening of Vector 90 as a co-working space as this is something I've dreamed of opening in my area. Now, before his passing, I'd never heard any of his music (I'm feeling Racks in the Middle hard now) as I'm not big on West Coast rap/hiphop besides Kendrick Lamar and Tupac (don't bring up how I dislike all those features in his songs with Dogg Pound and 'nem-this isn't about him). Then a few months ago while on Instagram, I saw the GQ magazine images of him and wife and actress, Lauren London. I remember thinking, damn they're cute together.
I have listened and read our responses to the murder of Nipsey Hussel - rapper, father, brother, husband, son, friend, a leader in the community, gang member, entrepreneur, hustler, protector….and the list goes on for the many adjectives we can use to describe this man. However, I see him as a Black man, human, flesh and blood…vulnerable. He is my brother, he is an extension of me. However, as we go out into the world our lives become entangled with other’s; our morals, standards, beliefs, happiness, hurts, fears, and pain, just to name a few become entangled with everyone else’s. We try to align ourselves up with everyone else, but sometimes it just doesn’t jive. Even when we share some of the same life experiences it doesn’t mean that we will make the same choices. Nipsey chose to elevate himself and his community, he chose to educate and feed the minds of his community into thinking, no, into KNOWING they were greater than their environment. He showed them through his ACTIONS that anything was possible, that determination and a desire for better could get them anywhere, and he did not leave them when he easily could have, he stayed to help bring them with him, he stayed to be a light to his community and to show them the way to a better life, he never abandon them. Some would say that this is what got him assassinated, victim blaming – I say that outright jealousy got him assassinated. I would say that cowardice got him assassinated, I would say that entitlement got him assassinated, I would say weakness got him assassinated…the perpetrator was a coward, he was jealous, he felt entitled to something he wanted to be GIVEN, and he was weak.
Read the extension of our podcast as hosts, Charli, Kay and Phoenix write about issues concerning woc simply because when you know better, you'd do better. Do better, sis.