Say his name: Nipsey Hussle. Do you feel that? I bet you’re wondering why you feel so sad; after all, he wasn’t your “real” brother or cousin. I found myself asking that question. How could the death of a man which I’d never met and was newly associated with his music, cause such a DEEP and CRUSHING feeling of depression and sadness? As a mental health counselor with over a decade of treating and diagnosing, I’ve heard and seen many tragic stories. But this! This HURT to the core! Nipsey was ours. As a community we needed him. We needed everything that he stood for and against. There’s a sharp pain and sadness associated with his name and the thought of his death. Tears flow from the eyes of his loyal fans and those who barely knew him at all. Why? He represented the BEST of brown and black people. He was the epitome of breaking the mode, changing the narrative, and reaching a population of people that many couldn’t. He was the guy you'd want your hard-headed brother to study. You'd say, “See! If he could change his life, you can too!” He is the man you'd want your man to follow; his hustle, dedication and grind was admirable and attractive! He was the man you’d show your daughter and say, “get you a man that knows how to provide, protect and maintain for his family. That’s a man!” He gave women hope. He gave men and boys hope. He gave the gang-bangers and the poor something and someone to aspire to. His music was uplifting, positive and motivating. It was real and authentic to our struggle and aspirations for more. He gave us what we demand of our brown and black celebrities; to give back to the community from which you came from. He did everything the right way and yet...it (his life ended tragically). The very hood from which he came became the place where he spoke his final words and took his last breath. The self-hate of our people in which he overcame was the evil from which his murderer operated from. So, in essence...his death has left a myriad of feelings and questions. Why bother if this is how it ends? Why give back to my hood if there is nothing but hate and envy? Why try? And then, like the messenger he was...you listen to his lyrics and he gives you the answer to that question. In one of his interviews he states, "ya'll better ride for me." In essence, we have to carry out our legacy of greatness. Yes, OUR legacy. We have been blessed with multiple examples of great brown and black men and women who've left the blueprint for use prior to their departure. Will we continue to maintain the status quo or operate from a higher self and community. Nipsey was an example. His purpose was fulfilled. He came and completed his mission on earth and has transitioned to his next realm. But what shall we do? We must not allow such brilliance to depart without the fire maintaining; we must not allow his life lessons to disappear once the next big distraction comes along in the media. We cannot allow his life and loss to be in vain. We HAVE to operate within our gift and purpose as he has provided us an amazingly beautiful example of what we can accomplish when we do so. In closing, the pain lessens day by day as I learn of his work, accomplishments and aspirations. I am honored to have lived in the same era as he. I now understand the pain that many felt from the loss of Tupac and Biggie Smalls. The world doesn't quite feel the same since his departure. I am strengthened, however; by the words of peace, comfort and forgiveness by his mother and maternal grandmother. What beautiful souls they are! To know they are standing strong...gives me the courage to move forward and to dry my tears as well. Many blessings and prayers of peace to his family and friends. Long live Nipsey Hussle. We shall say his name, forever.
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