When I thought about creating the Retrospective portion of this website, I thought about my personal mission of uplifting narratives of resilience in the Black community. The idea of a Black person having a space – whether it is the bottom floor of the Los Angeles MOCA a la Kerry James Marshall or a simple dedication on a digital platform like this – acknowledges the inherent regality that thrives in our community. I wanted to craft a regular, ongoing space that builds on the concept that Black people are worthy of celebration and their lives should be continually praised. A retrospective suggests that a person created work so notable, it is worth digesting with a wide lens and a ravenous mind. These posts may not encapuslate the full spectrum of everything a person has done, but they will always encourage readers to meditate on the influence created, even if for just a moment.
There is one man that immediately came to mind when I thought of whom I would want a reader to spend time meditating on. He broke Los Angeles’ heart when he left this earth. My husband and I streamed his albums nonstop in the months following his death, a practice we still slip into weekly with the goal of putting money back in his family’s pocket. Ermias Joseph Asghedom. Nipsey Hussle.
There was never someone quite like him in the game. Intelligence, spirituality, a growth mindset, someone who never shunned the block where he came from. He was open about his experiences within gang culture and denounced gun violence. His entrepreneurial endeavors positioned community, dignity, and self-preservation at their core. He was a proud parent and built a beautiful blended family with girlfriend Lauren London.
He was a God to the youth of South Los Angeles and when he left earthside, the city’s heart cracked and the roots of Hip Hop splintered. This post is as much a tribute as it is a celebration. Listen to his music, hear his voice through your speakers. Watch his interview and consider how you can carry on the legacy he left. View his photos and take a moment to pray for his wellness, wherever he may be now. His essence lives on – Los Angeles, Hip Hop, and the world at large will never be the same.
May the marathon continue.