Nipsey Hussle was murdered yesterday in front of a clothing store that he owned. He was murdered at the age of 33, the same age that Jesus was when he was nailed to the cross. Police are now saying that he was murdered by someone that he knew and that it was over a personal dispute. Initially people on social media were saying that it was a government conspiracy due to his upcoming documentary on the life of Dr. Sebi, a controversial figure who claimed to have found the cure to AIDS and other STD’s. But now the energy has shifted back to us. Back to the ghetto, and back to the self-hatred that is so pervasive in the black body. This plague has consumed Nipsey, who was a manifestation of hope in a very confounding era in which the blind are somehow able to amass extremely large followings and those who sleep on the traditions of our ancestors loudly proclaim to be woke.
As I sit here writing, the waves of pain are crashing against my consciousness. Particularly as I write the word was in regards to Nipsey. For everything that he did was for the future of black people—future economic empowerment, future financial literacy, future black ownership of the hood—and now he will be forever relegated to the past. We will have to speak of him in the same cryptic “what if” language in which we speak of Tupac Shakur. Each time we see his profound intellect displayed during an interview, or hear him spitting rhymes over a gangsta beat, instead of bobbing our heads we will instinctively hold them—both hands pressed against our foreheads— and say “Damn.” A man so full of light who escaped a life sentence in the penitentiary, poverty, disease, ignorance and all the other symptoms of ghetto America should not have to spend the rest of eternity trapped in the past tense. There was so much more unifying that he could have done.
Nipsey, for those of you who may not know, was the solution. If one were to go to any barbershop in any hood in this country and pose the question “What needs to be done in order to turn this community around?” People will inevitably say young people need jobs, instead of liquor stores we need more black owned businesses, the young people need a leader that will inspire them. Nipsey provided all of these things. He carried the faith of downtrodden on his back just as gracefully as he dawned the words SLAUSON BOY in the form of a tattoo between his shoulder blades.
He was at once the descendant of American slaves on his mother’s side and of a son of the Abyssinian Empire on his father’s side. Nipsey was royalty. He was mixed with those that rose up from slavery and those who refused to be colonized. Indeed, the best blood of Africa coursed through his veins. Blood that was unfortunately spilled on the pavement in the rolling 60’s neighborhood that he loved so dearly. A community which he was committed to uplifting.
Nipsey is dead now. Having been murdered less than 48 hours ago. He leaves two children, one girlfriend, and a legacy of love and power. And though he left too soon, he left a blueprint on the possibility of collective empowerment for a group of people that have been systematic stripped of such a concept. He will be missed by many, especially this writer. Rest easy Nip. I will ride for you. I will write for you and I will hustle hard in your honor.
She was hella pretty so I told her. I wasn’t trying to harass her or make her feel less than what she is. I didn’t want her phone number and I didn’t want to send her pictures of me aroused in her DM’s. I didn’t want to marry her or one day take her home to my mother either. My statement was not a declaration of the ability of my gaze to validate her beauty because she would have been beautiful whether I told her or not. I was just a black man telling a black woman that she was pretty. I felt like she needed to hear it from me. I felt like I needed to tell her that and she needed to know that I was being sincere. I don’t think she felt that way. I think her day would have gone much better if I would have kept my comment to myself. She looked at me out of the corner of her eye as she walked in the opposite direction and said nothing, and what she said to me is exactly how she made me feel. Somehow I wanted to express to her in a three word ebonical phrase that I had suffered right alongside her and I still faced just as much resistance as she did and yet somehow we both were shinning and she was shining even brighter than me and that I acknowledged this fact, I appreciated her, I honored her, and I never gave up on her. But it didn’t go down that way.
Curse my arrogance for thinking that a complete stranger was obligated to respond to my compliment. Curse my sensitivity for being hurt when she didn’t. Curse my brooding ways for thinking that this non-exchange sums up the greatest problem facing black people in America right now, and that is the tragic hostility that drives the black man and the black woman to hate each other. I love that woman but I fear that all she saw in me was a man that had the power to hurt her. Or maybe she saw a man that was beneath her, or maybe…maybe nothing. Maybe I’m just thinking too hard but I doubt it.
When you’ve had the long talk about why the two of you can no longer be together
And you’ve unfriended her on Facebook and blocked her Instagram as well
When you’ve placed all the pictures of her that you have on your iPad into your digital wastebasket
When you’ve deleted her as a contact on your Facetime along with all the goofy emails exchanged during that blissful time when the two of you spoke of eternity as reality
And when you have taken the time to delete the profile picture on the Groupme account you shared with her
Then you can begin the process of forgetting the sound of her panting and the curl of her toes. The loudness of her snore and the fullness of her Afro. The way she used to beat you at every game you played with her; air hockey, tennis, wrestling, love etc. And the irony of her insatiable desire to listen to Donny Hathaway on vinyl because as it turns out, giving up really is hard to do
And then you can forget all of the ground you covered with her only to have more ground appear only to realize there lay a chasm between the two of you that your love alone could never bridge. It is only then that you can forget that you tried harder than ever before but you failed all the same. It is only then that you can begin to become reacquainted with how enormous the world can be for a person that must traverse it alone. Then you will finally come to terms with the truth. And that truth is that you were always alone and you will always be alone because alone is how god made you.