This is a post I can’t believe I’m writing.
And I apologize that it’s taken me a few days to post, but I think my shock and sadness has kept me from doing this immediately. I was hurt--I am still hurting--and even still I can’t process this fully, but I think it is of the utmost importance to recognize the life and the legacy of Ermias Asghedom, beloved and known professionally as Nipsey Hussle.
We lost a true icon.
It’s only right that I take this time to post this on clothespetals, because this young man meant so much to so many. He was more than a brand. It’s amazing, really, how far his reach extended. It’s amazing how this young man at only thirty-three was an entrepreneur; he was a visionary, he was a father...he was devoted to his family, he was devoted to his people, he was devoted to his city, to uplifting those who came from the same places he came from and never allowing his situation or his odds to defeat him.
I am so sad; I am. And I know I am like many. This...this one hurts, and it has cut me deeply. I made the mistake of watching the vigil that took place after his death; the one outside of his clothing store, the Marathon Store, because while I was moved tremendously by the outpouring of support, I was still brought face-to-face with the hard realization that another positive visionary was stripped of his life and ripped from the community--my community--that he spent his life giving so much to.
Nipsey redefined Los Angeles through a fashion label and popularized that West Coast style, turning the symbols of a black neighborhood into popular icons. He made a street and a neighborhood that our popular media most often associates with police violence and gang-banging out to be a symbol of hometown pride, and that, truly, is the definition of fashion.
“Fashion is about storytelling through clothing,” said Shiona Turini, a freelance stylist and consultant when asked what the word, what the idea, meant to her. “It’s about a sense of history and pride and it embodies a greater sense of purpose than just a garment tossed on to cover bodies.”
Nispey leaves us more than clothes. He leaves us more than designs popularizing the Crenshaw district; the largest conglomeration of African Americans west of Texas. He leaves us more than just flags to celebrate his music. He leaves a legacy in his children; the man was a real estate mogul, he brought coding to inner-cities, he uplifted former gang-bangers with knowledge, he educated his community of stocks and bonds, and he reached the masses with his music. Beyond his own community, Victory Lap became his highest-grossing project, a Grammy-nominated album that preached the importance of self-wealth, of self-love, of determination, and motivation. He was working on another project that he, unfortunately, did not get to finish, documenting the life of the revolutionary Dr. Sebi, the holistic doctor who cured AIDS in the 1980’s. Nipsey was working on his follow-up album to Victory Lap. Nipsey was in talks of collaborating with artists from DJ Khaled to Drake to Meek Mill. Nipsey was in talks with meeting with the LA Police Chief about finally eliminating gang violence in the city.
This man, y’all.
My heart is so heavy, and I send his family prayers of healing and happiness, because I can only imagine how they might be mourning through this difficult time. To help them, stream his music, buy his clothes, patronize his restaurants. He owns rights to all of his Master’s, so listen to him; let his music continue to inspire; let his legacy continue to live on, as I know it will.
This is only the beginning.
And I urge us all to speak positivity into ourselves. I urge us all to remember the power of our words, to remember that our thoughts manifest themselves into things, and I urge us all to speak life into our projects and our families and our loved ones. I’m going to ride with Nipsey forever, but I also wish Nick Cannon nothing but life and success and happiness as he carries the torch and continues Dr. Sebi’s documentary. I wish all of the young men and women who are inspired by the legacy of Ermias Asghedom to continue his mission, because what this man did was find the beauty in his people, to see the ultimate potential in us, and make available as much knowledge and bring to us as many resources as he could, always teaching and always leading by example.
While his mission on this earth may be complete, let’s continue to do as he has done. Let us all see the beauty in ourselves and our people and continue to inspire, continue to connect, because our journey is far from over.
Let the marathon continue.