It’s safe to say that March 31st 2019 impacted millions of lives and changed them forever. The untimely death of Nipsey Hussle resonated from the streets of LA and spread throughout the entire world like a wildfire. Many knew Nipsey as a rapper, some knew him as a Crip, others knew him as a business owner and a real estate investor, an activist, or Lauren London’s boo. There were so many layers to him and so much ground that he’d covered in his short 33 years of life.
People around the world knew Nipsey Hussle for different reasons besides music. There is much to be said about someone that hustles hard enough to make it out of poverty but decides to create opportunity in that very place. Nipsey attracted a lot of attention based off of his philanthropy. By opening up the Marathon Clothing store he not only made a way for felons to have a place of employment, but he also provided a black-owned store for people of and around the community to shop and support.
Nipsey wasn't your average rapper. Most people that didn't know him could look at him as a gang member or affiliate and automatically count him out; however, Nipsey was a representation of peace, which sounds like an oxymoron especially in Los Angeles. What rapper do you know can successfully conduct business with and have camaraderie with a member of a known rival gang like YG or even The Game?
Nipsey also introduced Vector 90 in 2018, a STEM center and co-working space, which is also in the Crenshaw district. The idea is to bridge the gap between talented minority groups and corporate partners, which would provide an opportunity for inner-city children and open the window of possibilities that wouldn't otherwise be presented. At Nipsey’s memorial, his older brother Samiel shared that Nipsey actually built a computer on his own at the age of 12; this very computer would be where he began to focus on his own music.
Undeniably, Nipsey was most notably known as a rapper. He used his platform to bring awareness, as he did with his other outlets. Although not perfect by any means, he made sure to make everything he did meaningful, always bringing every idea/topic back to his foundation: home. Nipsey was also innovative by making his Crenshaw mixtape in 2013 $100 each, 100 of which were purchased by Jay-Z.
Unlike most gang members, he denounced gun violence and spoke openly about it through his music and his community. He often discussed the horrible experiences he endured growing up not only as a Crip but as a young man living in poverty. Determined to break this cycle for others, in March, Nipsey had already set up a meeting with the LAPD to meet with him and Roc Nation about preventing gang violence in South Los Angeles. Nipsey was murdered the day before the meeting.
It is said that leaders are born not taught, and to whom much is given, much is expected. Nipsey wore many hats, always with the intent for the greater good of his people. Such an activist must be celebrated by their actions, simply leading by example, which was evident at his memorial. Not only was the ceremony completely packed at the Staples Center, but Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan also spoke. To make things even greater, former President Barack Obama wrote a personal letter to Nipsey and his family and amplified the magnitude of Nipsey’s work and accomplishments.
Nipsey Hussle started a movement that must be continued, but not just in Los Angeles, worldwide. The world can benefit from more activists, more entrepreneurs, and people willing to give back and build in their communities. Nipsey’s legacy lives on as the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and West Slauson Ave will now be renamed Nipsey Hussle Square.
Even in death, Nipsey Hussle is bringing unity into several communities. The parking lot in which he lost his life has now become a memorial spot with an array of candles, teddy bears and candles. There have even been video sightings of red and blue flags connected together in solidarity. His store has been selling out of apparel since his death, and his music also. And the meeting with LAPD will commence at a later date in Nipsey’s honour.
“...For me, understanding the platform I have and who it speaks to, it’s about being strategic. We can’t stand on the corner with the bull horn and preach, that isn’t going to work. We have to be strategic and make an impact through influence. I wanted to redefine the lifestyle and what we view as important.”- Nipsey Hussle