COLUMN: Nipsey Hussle will be remembered for more than music


Community members pay their respects to the slain rapper Nipsey Hussle on April 2 at a makeshift memorial outside his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles. Tribune News Service

Prolific: Causing abundant growth, generation or reproduction. Marked by abundant inventiveness or productivity.

For some, it’s just a word.

But for rapper, songwriter and community activist Nipsey Hussle, it was a lifestyle. It was a tattoo on the upper right side of his face. It was the first word in the first song on his first studio album.

It was a motto he undoubtedly fulfilled.

Through investing in his community and uplifting its members, Hussle is the perfect example of what a self-made black man can and should be. He is an inspiration to a generation, and those who gain financial and social power should continue Hussle’s legacy.

The same community Hussle worked tirelessly to uplift is the same place he tragically lost his life. He was murdered March 31 outside of his Los Angeles store, The Marathon Clothing.

Hussle was shot five times in the torso and once in the head, allegedly by 29-year-old Eric Holder. Holder opened fire three different times. Two others were injured.

According to a report from TMZ, Hussle was at his clothing store to help pick out clothes for a friend who had just been released from jail after 20 years.  

As a talented soul and beacon of light for the community of South-Central L.A., Hussle was much more than just a recording artist. He had an inspiring dedication to a community that idolized him not just for his success, but also his giving spirit. He gave his all to mending brokenness in the black community and set an example for the youth.

Growing up in what he described as a “war zone,” Hussle learned early on about the importance of working with the resources given. He funneled that into making real, tangible change.

In addition, his musical talents are undeniable. Hussle released his first studio album on Feb. 16, 2018. The album, “Victory Lap,” received a nomination for Best Rap Album at the 61st Grammy Awards. It would be his only studio album.

His mark on the world was profound, and the world has proven that in the weeks since his untimely death that sent the hip-hop community into a state of mourning.

Celebrities such as Drake, Meek Mill and LeBron James went to social media to express their deep sorrow for the passing of this cultural icon. Artists such as J. Cole and Big Sean gave emotional performances to honor the fallen rapper.

Rival gangs came together for the first major widespread cease fire since the mid-1990s.

California Rep. Karen Bass tweeted that she will “be heading to the House Floor next week to formally enter Nipsey Hussle’s contributions to South Los Angeles into the Congressional Record where it will be a part of United States history forever.”

The Nation of Islam led a march for unity in South Central L.A. saying it is the “first time in the history of Los Angeles that we have stood up when a black man kills another black man.”

A petition was created on change.org to get Crenshaw Blvd. and Slauson Ave. to be Nipsey Hussle Blvd., and it recently gained enough momentum to succeed. The name of the intersection was changed to honor him.

His mark on the world goes far beyond music, and there is much that can be learned through his community engagement.

He was the epitome of “keeping the dollar in your community,” and people need to recognize how powerful that notion truly is.

He was an advocate for ending gun violence, specifically gang violence.

On the day of Hussle’s death, LAPD Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff announced Hussle had a meeting scheduled the day after the shooting with the LAPD to address gun violence in the city.

In February during an interview with Forbes, Hussle revealed his plans to become a real estate mogul and create businesses and real estate hubs designed to benefit the black community.

Additionally, Hussle played an essential role in the branding of Destination Crenshaw, which is a museum that will feature permanent and rotating art and design exhibits celebrating black history and culture.”

He invested in STEM programs for children of color and was heavily involved with Vector90, a foundation to teach underrepresented and disenfranchised youth the importance of STEM.  

Similarly, he invested in a L.A. elementary school and donated money to give a new pair of shoes to students and improve the basketball court and playground.

There is so much power in focusing on helping those close to you.

Let’s not let his death be in vain.

Let the victory lap continue.

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