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.
Then on March 31, while on Twitter I see there was a shooting outside his clothing store and three people were injured. As I forwarded the message to Phoenix, we'd both hoped he was not at the store or one of the ones who was shot-but in the back of our minds we knew he was one of them. Then to refresh the feed to see that he was indeed the one shot and has passed away did something to me that baffled me to my core. I felt lost. I felt sad. I was upset. I was angry. I was PISSED. Frantically I searched the internet for an update on who could have possibly murdered this man in broad daylight on his own property in front of people. I watched the surveillance videos that were released the next day and couldn't believe what I'd just witnessed. Not only did you shoot and then retreat. You did that shit multiple times, then had the audacity to kick this man in his head. I don't know if Nipsey's death is affecting me because I had a good friend CJ who was murdered by a soft ass wanna be gangsta who was upset that he'd lost a fight and left to get a gun and returned to shoot CJ in the chest and pistol whipped him when he was down. Like Nipsey, CJ was tall and a gentle giant who would protect his and wouldn't allow anyone in his crew to be disrespected. To have pistol whipped him as he was on the ground fighting for his life made me sick to my stomach. This was the same feeling I had when I watched this asshole kick Nipsey in the head-after he was already down. Like what the hell is wrong with people to where you are so butt-hurt that you would do something like this?
The headlines said that the monster was known by Nipsey and the hood and was accused of snitching and asked to leave from the shopping center. So because of this, you murder this man and shoot two other people? WTF is this world coming to? I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around when you muthaf*ckas became so damn soft. Like did I miss the memo that instead of fighting or shrugging some ish off you must reach for a gun and take a life because your pride suffered a blow? C'mon son, that's lame-as hell! I'm mad about the cruelty in which his life was taken as if I knew him personally. I haven't felt these feelings since 2014 when I'd messaged a friend of CJ's to find out if he'd spoken to him because he wasn't answering my calls or texts. Yes, we got into an argument days before he passed away and to hear the news of his passing and that they'd already buried him-broke my heart. As I sit and type this at 2:49am EST, it just hit me... I am grieving for not only Nipsey Hussle but my friend, CJ. I am grieving the passing of two black men who were taken at the hands of a pansy who wasn't man enough to handle his ego being bruised.
As I watched the memorial service today along with thousands of others, I became more intrigued about Nipsey Hussle ne` Ermias Asghedom. I found comfort in the stories shared by friends and loved ones who spoke highly of this king. This wasn't your typical we'll just speak well of the deceased because that's what you do at funerals/memorial services. Every word was genuine. Everyone who spoke was touched by him in a way that impacted their lives for the better and you could tell they all were glad they'd experienced him during the short time he was on this Earth. I believe he knew his time would be short and worked to make the greatest impact in the time he was given. I am a firm believer that we know when our time is approaching, when we've started on our final lap in this thing called life.
It is my hope that Crenshaw continues Nipsey's legacy by buying back the block, patronizing his businesses, and educating themselves on ownership and just how important it means to win at the legit game as they have in the game. I pray his children know just how much he loved them. I pray his wife, mother, father, sister, brother, and friends know that they were in the presence of a God that worked to enrich the lives around him and his community, that he loved them. I pray for the culture as we are crushed behind his passing. I pray the marathon continues.
Today, I grieved.
"The race is not won to the swift but to the one who endureth till the end."
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.