I remember the exact moment when I heard the news of Ermias Asghedom, better known as Nipsey Hussle The Great’s untimely death. It was so surreal because my fiancé and I had just finished not only listening to the album Victory Lap for the hundredth time, but we had been discussing him while we were getting ready for date night. After getting ready, we had time before we were about to head out to go see Jordan Peele’s new movie Us and my fiancé stepped outside for a few minutes. When he came back into the room I knew something was up because his whole mood was different and he kept saying, “Somebody shot him?” I was puzzled and responded, “Not Nipsey Hussle?” I don’t even know why my immediate thought was to say his name, but I did. That’s when he told me that Nipsey had been shot in front of his store and had died. I could not believe it, I was shocked, to say the least. I got online to get confirmation and there it was. News outlets posting about Nipsey being brutally gunned down. The mood of that night changed for me. I didn’t feel well in my spirit and although we went through with date night, the vibe was not the same. It was like we were mourning the passing of a dear close friend or relative. The next day, I awoke to tears running down my face because for some reason, his death really affected me and I didn’t understand why. Although I personally did not know Nipsey Hussle, I felt a significant loss when he passed, like a part of me was missing. At that moment, Nipsey reminded me of my brothers and that is where I was at with it, I felt like I lost one of my brothers.
I had only learned of him a few years prior to his death because my fiancé always played his music (even though he’d been following him from day one) and my head would bop right along. Nipsey was more than just someone who grew up in Los Angeles on Crenshaw. He was more than someone who was affiliated with a gang or the streets. He was a loving father, brother, son, partner to Lauren, friend, activist, mentor, creative genius, visionary, entrepreneur, and a child of God. He was authentic and inspirational. He was truly a representation of not allowing your surroundings to dictate the trajectory of your life. We all know the street life is dangerous, so to have someone come from that but also say, “Hey that’s not all of who we are. We can do this too,” is very empowering. Nipsey didn’t just rap and talk about being the change, he lived it.
I think what affected me the most about Nipsey’s passing is that he was 33 years old, accomplishing all that he had in such a short amount of time and here I am 34 years old and I’m not hungry enough. I mean at the time, I was going through the motions, but I had lost that fire, that hunger. I began to question myself like, “How dare I give up so easily? How dare I not put 110% of myself into my dreams and purpose?” I really started to dig deep and just reconnect with the foundation of who I am and I attribute that to Nipsey, not his passing, but his life and his legacy that he leaves behind. I believe with my whole heart that Nipsey truly walked in the fullness of who he was meant to be and by God’s will, he would’ve done even greater works in the earth.
Nipsey believed in education. Educating his community and also teaching through example. He knew and believed that there was greatness in where he came from, even if nobody else believed. Not only did Nipsey bring tech education with his company Vector 90 and jobs to his community, but he brought hope and encouragement along with it. He was the voice of his city and community. Nipsey understood what his people and community needed and he did what he could to exceed those needs. He was so well respected that everyone showed him, love, no matter what color they were repping. Nipsey cared enough about his people and his community that he wanted to actively change the gun violence that was plaguing the streets of Los Angeles. At the tender age of 33, I believe that Nipsey not only taught me but the world that you have to walk in your gifts fully and unapologetically. You have to do it now, there is no time to waste. Life truly is short and it doesn’t simply wait around for you to get with it.
Nipsey taught us that you can’t just talk about what you want to do, go do it and be smart in doing it. Surround yourself with wise counsel. He was and still is very loved, well respected, admired and adored by family, friends and millions of people around the world. Nipsey taught us that the people who support you are important. Their hopes and dreams are just as important as yours and when you have the opportunity to be the shift that someone needs in the right direction, be that! It’s easier to be on the sidelines and cheer but it takes a greater individual to get in the heart of the fight and pull others up and out. He taught us that investing in your community and those around you can be rewarding. Seeing someone better themselves is a blessing to behold. Give back to those who have given to you. Love those who loved you. Fight for those who fought for you. Educate and duplicate the goodness that you possess. That is what I learned from Ermias Asghedom.
Nipsey was all of us, is all of us! Don’t wait to be great.
By: Etosha Bahaiddin