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Build a Legacy: Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle

The community embraced him in all his complexity.

Nipsey Hussle
Photo Credit @NipseyHussle

The news of the untimely death of critically acclaimed rapper Nipsey Hussle sent shockwaves amongst my group of friends. The massive outpouring of love and support in the aftermath of his murder has carried with it a collective heaviness.

Communities of color, often struggle to find role models and Nipsey had unapologetically distinguished his own brand of respectability by being a beacon of hope for South LA.

Nipsey rebuilt basketball courts for kids with hoop dreams and started Vector90, a stemcenter and co-working space that he’d hoped would bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and the inner city, for those with other ideas.

Briana Younger, The New Yorker

But Nipsey wasn’t just talented as an artist. He was also well-known for his adamant stance on supporting Black-owned businesses, encouraging entrepreneurship, and development of financial acumen. These were core values he espoused and he actively set an example.

“I understand my obligation—I got an obligation to my community first, my family first, to hoods like L.A. all around the country who live for the culture,” he wrote in an essay for the Players’ Tribune. “That’s part of the game, the way I see it. I have a duty to justify the seat that I’m sitting in. Nobody has any success on his own.”

Nipsey Hussle for The Players Tribune

And while criticism of the rapper and philanthropist has always been present, voices from marginalized communities are openly speaking about the complexities and nuances that exist for those who are born into Nipsey’s circumstances.

This tragic loss is forcing all of us to take a deeper look at the way we view people of prominence; for all the good as well as their shortcomings. It’s also a call for us to manage our expectations and create dialogue that allows room for individuals to grow. Nipsey was a devoted father, and in the wake of his absence he leaves behind a large void for his loving partner, Lauren London.

As we grapple with our contradictions and dualities, it is important to give credit where credit is due. If there is one thing that is undisputed, it’s that Nipsey was striving for improvement.

Just like the song Loaded Bases, may he come home to rest in peace.

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