September 13th, 1996…
March 9th, 1997…
March 31st, 2019…
For those who don’t know or don’t remember, the dates presented above represent some of the more high profile murders of the music industry over the last 30 years. Being so young and leaving such a legacy behind were that of Tupac Shukar [9/13/96] (who will always live on as ‘2 Pac’), Christopher Wallace [3/9/97] (who will always live on as ‘The Notorious B.I.G’) and Ermias Asghedom [3/31/19] (which the world will always know as ‘Nipsey Hussle’). These three men left their imprint on Hip-Hop/Rap music and their respective communities, but sadly all suffered similar fates with so much controversy and vitriol surrounding their deaths.
If you’ve been living under a rock over the last week, Nipsey Hussle, a Philanthropist and Grammy-Nominated artist from South Central, LA was killed on March 31st, 2019. The execution occurred right outside of Nipsey’s store called ‘The Marathon Store’, that sits on West Slauson Avenue in LA. This is indeed the same community that made him into the successful man that a lot of people followed and respected. Through his music and various interviews throughout the years, Nipsey displayed transparency about his days as a member of the ‘Rollin 60s’, which is a local slang title for the neighborhood and the notable Crips gang that represent this area of LA.
His coming of age story is priceless and provided motivation for those who are from his hometown and those from afar who can relate. Not only was this young brotha a dope artist with genuine lyrics that flowed across those West Coast inspired beats, but he was a rising real estate mogul and entrepeanuer that pressed the issue of property ownership to those of his community. He even implemented STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) programs within his neighborhood amongst other initiatives to create more than one avenue for youth to be able to achieve success.
“Differences of Opinion”
There are two pieces of good news that have occurred since Nipsey’s murder: 1.) The Los Angeles Police Department identified and “apprehended” 29-year old Eric Holder as the shooting suspect in the murder of Nipsey Hussle. 2.) A re-awakening within the black community.
For the last couple of days, social media on all major platforms have been full throttle with retweets and reposts of material covering the murder of Nipsey Hussle. From the ‘R.I.P’ posts, to the ‘black on black crime’ rhetoric and ‘government influenced conspiracy’ theories, so many people are at odds on the reasons of such an act. This case is strange to say the least and all questions must be asked from all angles such as…
– “How was one man (the shooter) and woman (getaway driver) capable enough to elude the entire hood of South Central LA and LAPD for 48 hours plus?”
– “Why was the suspect released a couple of days prior to the murder from the same exact mental health facility that he was apprehended at by LAPD?”
– “Was the suspect’s motive really just out of hatred due to a personal beef with the victim or is it a deeper conspiracy?”
With those questions still being unanswered for over a week, I believe time will reveal all. It took us years to find out who killed 2 Pac, yet questions still linger about his case and clouds still surround Biggie’s murder to this day.
I, for one am tired of the “black on black” angle. Specifically for the fact that common sense will tell you that people in communities (which are predominantly of that race) will attack one another regardless of motive. Crime is crime and there is no cure for that. However, I reject the notion that because one man who looks like me did such a crime that its a reflection amongst us as black people as a whole. I do understand the frustrations of some people who want to claim that it’s an issue, but it’s not only a issue that plagues our community but all communities. My only suggestion to folks is to stop taking surface details when history shows really shady dealings of people being murdered because they want better and do better for and by the black community.
Side note: I wasn’t a big Nipsey Hussle music fan when he was here physically. Sadly, I feel as though I missed out on a live performance for the ages but one song that I continuously play is from his latest work “Victory Lap”. The song, “Hussle & Motivate” will forever be my top favorite because I can relate to it. It’s motivational, inspirational and certainly thumps in my headphones and car speakers continuously. I’ve followed his endeavors for the last couple of years outside of music and my respect for him as a businessman and specifically a black man skyrocketed. His focus was on unity and his intent was trying to change the way black folks moved within business and with knowledge of self. I just want to say thank you Nipsey and we’ll continue your work!
Written by Da’Von Yates
(All images courtesy of Google Images)