The world stood still March 31, when rapper and business owner Nipsey Hussle was shot to death in front of his business, Marathon Clothing, at the intersection of Crenshaw and Slauson in South Los Angeles.
Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, used his platform to spread inspirational messages of resilience and motivation.
His ability to empower others, especially minorities, went beyond his musical influence.
I met Hussle in the same parking lot he was fatally shot in 2013. He had a small gathering for supporters to come meet him and his long-time friend, South L.A. rapper, Dom Kennedy. Like many others, his music and impressionable characteristics inspired me to find my own passions and accomplish my goals.
It is difficult categorizing Hustle because he was so well-rounded. He was an artist, business owner, community leader, father, husband and most importantly, he was the first real representation of hope. He granted people faith that one could be successful despite their upbringing.
“Coming from where we come from, and the things we were involved in, in the ‘90s and the 2000s in South Central LA., I don’t know too many people that made it,” Hussle said in an interview on “The Breakfast Club” radio show.
Hussle did not shy away from his affiliation with the Rollin 60s Crip gang. He said proudly “we embrace the only life we know.”
Despite the struggle, he encouraged those from communities, like his, to step out of the cycle and recognize their own talent and potential.
The South Central Los Angeles native was taken from his loved ones and supporters by the same lifestyle he encouraged others to grow away from.
Hussle was scheduled to meet with the Los Angeles Police Chief and president of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioner the following day, April 1, to discuss ways to stop gang violence and how to help children in South Central.
“I saw the name Nipsey Hussle, and I looked at that again, and I looked at it again, and it was like- I could not believe it. I’m devastated by it,” LAPD chief, Michel Moore, said. “This was a voice that was trying to help.”
The Grammy nominated rapper inspired people to follow the same steps he took toward success, by owning assets and gaining financial independence.
He encouraged entrepreneurship, making investments and education in his interviews and music.
Philanthropy work was something Hussle regularly practiced throughout his community.
Last year, he opened a STEM workspace and center for young people that he hoped would create a “bridge between the inner city and silicon valley.” He felt it was important that idols and leaders in his community endorse other areas of success than just sports and entertainment.
“In our culture, there’s a narrative that says ‘follow the athletes, follow the entertainers’. That’s cool, but there should be something that says ‘follow Elon Musk, follow Zuckerberg,” Hussle told the L.A. Times.
In the wake of the rapper’s passing, rival gangs came together last week to begin a peace treaty among themselves. Veteran gang leaders had a major role in organizing the event in an effort to push forward Hussle’s agenda to reduce gang violence. Some of these rivalries throughout LA have lasted well over 30 years.
“This s*** is a dream come true. I know Nipsey is proud and happy right now, this is the goal we all wanted, we need each other,” Snoop Dogg said in a video on his social media. “Put peace back in LA.”
People will forget the things you do, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.
“The highest human act is to inspire” -Nipsey Hussle.