(Written 4/5/19) It has been a long week. A week full of shock, confusion, anger, conspiracy theories, self reflection, and ultimately sadness. We are all deeply saddened by the murder of our brother in spirit Nipsey Hussle. It is said that death comes like a thief in the night, and it is no doubt we ARE ALL blindsided by Nipsey’s murder. We feel robbed. The pain hits on a few different levels, and it seems like this is the main reason we are all so shellshocked.
Before we go any further we want to give our love and light to all of Nipsey’s friends and family. Our thoughts are with you. Take your time going through the grieving process, and remember that the ones we love are never gone from us.
Nipsey’s music was really just a point of entry, a gateway into his beautifully complex world; a world so many of us identified with on multiple levels. Being young, black, and from the hood there are so many intersecting influences that we all try to make sense of in our own way. Nipsey in particular, was very honest in showing us how he wove together his gang affiliation (Rollin 60s), with his love for science, technology, fashion, spirituality and entrepreneurship. He represented SO MANY of us, his authenticity charged us and encouraged us to be our best selves. A lot of the anger we feel is related to the fact that such a beautiful light was snuffed out by the very place it emerged from.
The hood is a complicated place. Or rather, those of us from different hoods feel mixed feelings towards it. We love the hood and we hate the hood. We see the beauty and genius there, while also seeing the ugly side, which is dominated by the warped worldview of SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. When our thoughts are dominated with survival we see everyone and everything as a threat to our existence. Here in America, especially in the hood where there are limited resources, the preoccupation with survival is palpable, and people are liable to do really crazy things to try and alleviate the fear that comes with this perspective. Although all of the details surrounding Nipsey’s murder still haven’t come out, we do know that he was killed by someone he knew, in front of his own store, in his own neighborhood. By his own people. Why is it when someone is transitioning into their greatness the very people who have a front row seat hate the most? Why do we feel so threatened by our brother and sister growing? Why do we feel so negatively that we will go through great lengths to disrupt their lives?
If you are into science fiction there is an amazing book from Octavia Butler called Parable of the Sower, and in that book there is a brilliant quote that says: “Drowning people sometimes die fighting their rescuers.”. It is impossible to save someone who doesn’t want to save themselves. This is the hardest lesson for leaders to accept, and it also means that sometimes the best way to help is from a distance. It is safe to say that in the hood, we are all drowning in some way shape or form; under the water of drugs, debt, loss, and trauma. In this situation, Eric Holder, drowning, under the water of his own issues, decided to instead save himself and kill one of his own rescuers, our beloved, and that hurts. That hurts in a way that we haven’t been hurt collectively in a while.
We gotta stop killing each other. We gotta stop believing the lies society tell us about who we are. We gotta work to dismantle the cultural legacies of violence intolerance and fear. Nipsey was our brother and we killed him. The same hood that dubbed him a knight was the same one that took him out. This dual nature exists in all of us. We all have to see the part we play in the way the world is. The only way things are really going to change is if we feel responsible enough to change ourselves. Are you a hater? When you see people getting exposure, glowing up, and getting money, are you happy for them, or do you hate?
Instead of being discouraged, we have to double down on our greatness. We have to work overtime to promote the spirit of collaboration OVER competition. We are stronger together. There is more than enough to go around. If there is one thing we can take away from Nipsey’s life, it is to BE GREAT. Greatness requires self awareness, self love, and an endless desire to be our best. Like he always reminded us, life is a MARATHON. Greatness is being great all the time which requires an insane amount of endurance. Nip was just warming up, and through his death he has passed the baton to us. What are you going to do with it? What ever greatness you see in our brother Nipsey, here at AWARE we challenge you to see that same amount in yourself. We all have limitless God potential, and people like Nipsey inspire us to actualize it!
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