Nipsey Hussle’s Legacy Threatened
Nipsey Hussle would have been 34 years old, today. The acclaimed rapper, who was gunned down on March 31st, 2019, outside of Hussle’s famous retail store, The Marathon Clothing, located in Hyde park, will be celebrated by community and religious leaders who plan to gather at a nearby location to ‘release balloons and say a prayer.’
The store itself will not hold a public event, and opted to not endorse any of the gatherings.
Over the course of the last four and a half months, the site has seen an increase of foot traffic with fans making the pilgrimage to take a selfie and pay their respects. Murals have slowly cropped up all over the city and it even seems as though a solemn tone carries the very mention of the rapper.
But not all has been without consequence. The store itself is now embroiled with its own tug of war with the city attorney over the future of the property. There is even speculation over whether the uptick in violence since the shooting could threaten to undo Nipsey’s legacy. David Gross, Nipsey’s business partner, recently spoke to the LA Times:
“This is 50 years of poor social, economic and police policies,” he said. “Don’t make it about the Marathon store and Nipsey. It hurts Nip’s legacy.”David Gross
It’s no mystery that there is crime in the neighborhood and that the controversial presence of the Rolling 60s contributes to that image. But it’s also clear that the issues that have plagued Hyde Park are systemic and the effort to renovate, gentrify, and push black and brown residents out, is widely known.
Part of what made the opening of the store such a huge deal was the context surrounding its launch. As well as its push for innovation in a community where poor residents of color were clearly abandoned, and the risk and great lengths to which Nipsey worked to make it happen. Proving that Hyde Park, and all of inner city LA, was not the violent sum of its parts, but something more: Transcendent, despite the odds.
That’s a legacy worth fighting for.