The marathon continues: Nipsey Hussle, Black trauma + advancing the culture
Updated: Aug 29
A lasting legacy was created in the Crenshaw neighborhood of South Los Angeles that will forever remain imprinted in the hearts and minds of those in the community and far beyond. The phrase “gone too soon” took on a whole new meaning as the life of one man, who was pushing to make a real and genuine change, was cut short.
On Sunday, March 31st, it felt as if the entire world came to a standstill as reports of Nipsey Hussle’s death made headlines on every media platform. In an instant, the words I saw floating down my feed went from: optimistic prayers for his recovery to disbelief and condolences.
Though I wasn’t an avid listener to his music (that's now changed), I knew who Nipsey Hussle was and one thing rang incredibly true at the announcement of his death: the love and admiration for him stretched far beyond what the eye could see. My heart ached for Lauren London, who would never get to lovingly embrace her soulmate again and for the kids who would never get to feel their father’s physical presence again.
My heart ached for the death of another Black man at the hands of gun violence.
And with Nipsey’s death came the circulating footage of the moment it happened- this only adds to the images and videos of dead Black bodies that we’re constantly bombarded with. This only adds to the Black trauma that has choked us with deep fear. We see the conspiracy theories begin to pile up as a way to make sense of everything and suddenly everyone feels the same heaviness lie on their chest, serving as a reminder that this is real.
I wondered how many of us were triggered by what we were seeing on social media or how many of us were deciding that for the sake of our mental health, we should step away from our feeds because they’re feeding into our worries, fears, and anxieties. I mean, I wish I could say that I stepped away, but there seemed to be this insatiable desire to know more… to understand, ya know?
In these moments of tragedy, we all want to grasp for something that will help us understand or lessen the pain of knowing that a light like Nipsey Hussle has been taken from this earth. While these things aren’t inherently “bad”, they have a way of deterring us from acknowledging the trauma that exists- I mean, the frequency of Black deaths displayed in the [social] media has almost become normalized. It shouldn’t be that way. It feels inescapable at this point, which is why it’s important to detach and digest in a healthy way.
And while seeing another death can diminish a sense of hope sometimes, we must keep going. If anything, after diving into watching tons of interviews and reading many articles, I’ve learned that Nipsey Hussle was way more than just a rap artist. Nipsey Hussle was an activist, an advocate, a man walking in purpose, a true pioneer for the advancement of his community. He inspired the masses- talking the talk and walking the walk.
Nipsey Hussle used his fame as a platform to fight injustice, with high interest and understanding of the power of technology to build wealth and enact change all around. Saying that he gave back to his community almost feels like an understatement, from opening up a STEM center for inner-city youths to opening up a professional co-working space. Moreso, he didn’t harbor his knowledge and wisdom in the process of building up his community and generating wealth, it was shared without selfishness.
What stuck with me the most was an interview he had with Forbes, where he highlighted the two things you'll need in anything you do or else you'll fold. Those two things: faith and discipline.
"Discipline to keep from backtracking and faith to keep going when what you see in front of you doesn't represent what you believe will happen."
Nipsey Hussle embodied the importance of shifting your mindset and visualizing your goals, while also being backed by a strong tribe/team working alongside you with the same dedication, passion and drive to bring every goal to fruition.
Nipsey Hussle set his own price and bet on himself, all while trusting the process.
"It's about realizing that there are different levels throughout your journey and you have to be patient...most people want to skip the process, not knowing that when you skip steps, you miss the lessons."
Though sometimes the thought of continuing the advancement of the culture and our communities seems like far too grand of a feat, I think Nipsey left us all with gems and the tools we need to keep going. We all have a responsibility to be a hand in the betterment of the Black community, or at least have some desire to.
Nipsey Hussle, thank you for walking in your purpose while you were on this earth. I believe your light will continue to shine and inspire us all to keep going.
The marathon continues.
Thanks for reading, and don't forget... be great! xoxo.