Happy Birthday and rest in peace, Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom. On March 31, the late rapper was gunned down in front of The Marathon Clothing store, his place of business in the Crenshaw District of South Los Angeles. Nipsey Hussle would have been 34 years old on August 15.
I didn’t know you as person- ally, but I bought your 2019 Grammy-nominated debut al- bum “Victory Lap” and a couple of your mix tapes “Slauson Boy Volume 1” and “Bullets Got No Names Volume 1-3.”
Your tragic murder made me reflect on my own act of senseless violence. My role in the ongoing Black on Black violence. The hurt and pain of crying mothers, wives and children. Growing up in South Central myself, I know and understand the gang culture.
Wherever a simple dispute ends with gun violence, retaliation and decades of more murders, the Black community suffers. As the saying goes: one Black man died, the other in jail. The cycle continues.
We lost a young king who transformed his life. He went from a gang member to a business man who reinvested in his community. Nipsey was different from most other young rappers.
He promoted investing in real-estate rather than cars and jewelry. He started his own music label “All Money In.” This allowed him to own the rights to his music.
Nipsey bought the strip mall in his neighborhood on Crenshaw and Slauson, where his store sits. He had plans to renovate some of the space for affordable housing units that would include healthy food options, reported the Los Angeles Sentinel.
He launched the “Too Big to Fail” initiative to bring the tech industry to the ‘hood. The initiative focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs for the inner-cities.
Nipsey was scheduled to meet with the Los Angeles Police Department’s top brass to discuss ways to reduce gang violence and start youth pro- grams. He was killed the day before the meeting. Nipsey Hussle made money and gained fame but he never left his community.
Something we seem to love the most could become the thing that does us in. Nipsey Hussle has become one of a growing list of rappers, the voices of our community, who died from gun violence. We lost 2Pac, Biggie, Mac Dre and XXXtentacion.
This list does not exclude the countless men and women whose names only their families know. The pain and grief is real even for someone like me, who caused harm. The ripple effect is real –just a few seconds of violence can cause a lifetime of pain.
When I called home to check that my uncle was outside watching Nipsey Hussle’s funeral procession going down the street, he spoke about the large crowds and the peace of the city pay- ing homage to one of the city’s own.
Ermias“Nipsey Hussle”Asghedom leaves behind a wife, two kids and family members who love him.
We recognize you in your final lap, Nipsey. The marathon continues. Much love and respect.