On March 31st, California native, Ermias Asghedom (widely known as Nipsey Hustle) was killed outside his clothing store by a known associate for reasons we may never really know. I wasn’t very familiar with Nipsey but I noticed a flood of posts hit social media about him, his music and who he was as a man in general and at first I didn’t really think much of it other than it was a sad and unfortunate situation and my heart hurt for his long time girlfriend, actress, Lauren London with whom he shared a 2 year old son with. You see, I know what’s it like to lose the man you love because I lost my love back in 2009. Unfortunately we weren’t together at the time of his passing but that didn’t stop me from feeling the punch to the gut when I got the call.
Then the funeral came and the text that she sent him earlier this year hit my social media feed because it was printed in the obituary and I felt her deeper hurt for her. I always felt that their love was authentic just off the pictures that I would see from time to time. You could see it wasn’t just some Hollywood romance for the cameras. You could literally see the love they had for each other in the photos, whether it was the GQ photo shoot or just ordinary camera phone photos on their Instagram pages. As I streamed the funeral at my desk I became an instant fan of this man who I barely knew anything about. This man was so much more than a rapper. He was a light in his community and the hood that he grew up in. He made some bad choices in his life and join a gang but as he grew and learned he made a change in his life and began to be the change the world needs. People say “be the change” all the time but how often do those same people actually going out and making a change in their surroundings or at least trying? I saw people complain about speaking so highly about him and being so saddened about his death and I was shocked. Why do we as a culture insist on finding something negative to say no matter the situation? This man was doing good in his community and doing the majority of it without people really knowing it which speaks to his character. Far too often we feel the need to make public all our good deeds instead of just being good and doing good.
Then on last night, I went to the movies with my mom and aunt to see The Best of Enemies and as I was watching the earlier moments of the movie I felt anger rise up inside of me watching scenes involving a KKK meeting. I felt that anger because I thought about how we’re still not far removed from the KKK and it’s mentality and the people who birthed the organization. I watched as they indirectly prayed to further their mission to keep a “pure white” America. As time goes on we see and hear more stories of hate crimes and division in our country, and this made me really think as I continued to watch the movie. At times I felt wide range of emotions: hurt, anger, sadness. I thought about how things were then and how they could and should be so much better now because of the things that took place back then. I realized a large part of why they aren’t better: we have lost our sense of community. As a culture we get online and we make our posts and wear our African print clothing and jewelry and proclaim how proud we are to be filled with melanin yet when things happen in our community, such as, black on black crime we speak on it for a week and move on. Yet the moment a white officer kills a black person we immediately form meetings and protests and get offended when people ask why the same energy isn’t put forth when it happens in our own community by our own hands. Nipsey was different though, he was in the community and he was making an impact. His death shows how he made an impact. I’m not saying that people aren’t making a difference in their communities because I can think of about 5 people instantly right in my own city that are working to make a difference, more importantly, they are consistent. Consistency that’s the key word here. Consistency is where I feel we lose the impact and prevent the completion of our ultimate goal of being equal and respected as a race. We fight against each other, we jump from hot topic to hot topic and we are inconsistent. In the movie they were united and about one cause the entire time although they had several struggles.
It’s been two weeks to the day since Nipsey was tragically taken from this Earth and people are still talking about his impact on the world. In Chicago the bloods and crips are coming together and movements have sparked to encourage ending gun violence in predominately urban communities. It is my prayer that this continues throughout our nation and Nipsey’s death won’t be in vain and that more celebrities will continue to speak out against black on black crime in addition to the injustices that happen against us outside of our communities.