On Sunday, March 31st, the world lost a light.
I had just gotten off of the air and began making my way home when I got a text message that drained the colors of my life with every character. One of my frat brothers had alerted me of the terrible news that rapper, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and role model, Nipsey Hussle had been gunned down in his hometown of Los Angeles, CA. I kept refreshing my timelines, hoping to read the words, “stable condition” but sadly, the ‘Rest in Peace’ posts began flooding in.
It was certainly a sad moment in history for not just the culture, but across the world.
I’ve done a lot of writing about Nipsey and I’ve published his impact on my life. He truly was a beacon of focus, empowerment, purpose, and heroism; a leader of light and a symbol of a better tomorrow for our communities.
At the time of his murder, Hussle was conducting business in just about every industry you could think of: real estate, tech, fashion, and of course, elevating himself within the entertainment industry. He was heralded by colleagues as a “visionary” who consistently sought to elevate the world around him. Drake paid a chilling tribute to Nipsey during his show in London:
Nipsey was focused on giving back to the community that raised him, hosting community events for youth in the Crenshaw area. Many members of his community recognized his efforts and became inspired by the light that he was shining abroad. “He once gave a pair of shoes to every student at an elementary school in Hyde Park, where he owned a burger joint, a fish market and a barbershop. He helped fund upgrades to the campus playground and offered jobs to his struggling neighbors,” says the Los Angeles Times.
In a neighborhood that was polluted with violence, he has certainly seen his share of families grieving the loss of a loved one to the streets. Where most artists and celebrities turn their heads to such struggles, Hussle has been known to step in and ease the family’s pain with some financial support. The Los Angeles Times continues, “if someone lost a loved one to gun violence, he would sometimes chip in for the funeral.”
Hussle also worked closely with the tech industry after being introduced through his interests in music software. Once he began to look into the industry, he developed several programs to usher more children of color into the tech world. He also created Vector 90, hailed as a “cultural and intellectual hub for entrepreneurs and creatives, heightening the economic and social fabric of the neighborhoods [in which they were located].”
As a child, Nipsey grew up on the corner of Slauson and Crenshaw at a popular shopping strip that was a staple for the neighborhood. One of his most notable ventures was the clothing store, The Marathon, that he brought to that shopping strip. His clothing line highlighted the story of his brand, helping us (youth and public) digest the idea that life is certainly a marathon as opposed to a sprint.
Beyond the music and the business ventures, Ermias Asghedom had a legacy that we should keep alive.
Since my youth, I have been completely enamored by the opening of the Olympics and the symbolism of passing the torch. Before the games would begin, athletes of games prior, icons, and other individuals passed the torch around the world from Olympia, Greece to where ever the games are being held that respective year.
Thousands of runners. One goal; in pursuit of one moment. When one runner can no longer go, the torch is passed to the next. The cycle continues until the mission is completed.
Unfortunately, our brother Nipsey Hussle can no longer carry his torch of integrity, culture prosperity, community, character, talent, and love. It is now our time and responsibility to carry the torch into our homes, neighborhoods, offices, and schools.
His voice and legacy lives through us. We are Nipsey Hussle.
Rest in power Ermias Asghedom.
– @briancxvi [IG/Twitter]