A Life Well Lived

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The murder of Ermias Asghedom better known as Nipsey Hussle is heartbreaking. Devastating. But somehow it seems there’s this energy that it created. A shockwave that it sent not only through the whole country, but the world. The shockwave that it sent through me.

In a perfect world, we would have been able to get the message while he was still here, putting us on game as he had been for years. But life is this mystery and doesn’t always quite work the way we think it should.

All over, we grieve not only Nipsey but everything he represented. From pulling himself up from nothing to taking that opportunity and success to reinvest in his own community. We grieve the energy that he seemed to exude and that those that knew him personally attest to. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people say, “I don’t know why this is hitting so hard, someone I didn’t know,” and I am no exception.

HIs death reminds us of our own mortality as he was only 33-years-old and seemingly just hitting his stride. It reminds us that no matter how much we’re seeking in material success, none of it matters when we are no longer here. Sure, his children will likely be taken care of, but I’d bet without a doubt that they’d rather have him, with them, in the flesh. We are a generation who has made notoriety and celebrity our idol, and it’s as though when the news of his death spread, none of it mattered.

For a moment, you may have even felt hopelessness like me. Like how could you turn your life totally around, do so much good, and then have your light extinguished in such a tragic way?

“How you die thirty somethin' after banging all them years?” - Nipsey/// Racks in the Middle

But if you are anything like me, you only let that feeling last for a second. You realized that Nipsey’s death can’t be in vain and when we think that way, we lose. So, we pick up the baton. We dare ourselves to keep running the race. As he often encouraged, we realize that the marathon has to continue. But not in a business as usual type of way. We’re here with new urgency, sincerity, and dedication to keep the legacy of not only Nipsey but other black men who died trying to make a change and champion their people, alive.

In February, as I exited my seat in the Staples Center during the 61st GRAMMYs, my husband went to charge his phone before heading to the after party for that evening and there he was. Ermias walked out of the floor section alongside Lauren London, likely plotting their next move. They posed for photos with a few people that noticed them and they were gone. You rarely ever think about the fact that you will see someone for the first and the last time.

That’s what sticks with me. That’s what has kept me in tears at some point nearly every day since March 31st. I don’t want to keep waiting. Waiting for the things that I want, waiting for the right time, waiting until I get to some place that I’ve made up in my head as being successful.

Nipsey Hussle had plans. Likely for later that evening of March 31st. Definitely for his second album which he spoke about on the Rap Radar podcast. We don’t think that when we walk out of the house we might not make it back and that fact has been haunting me. All the things that I put off from dying my hair to buying new clothes for myself to my happiness. I keep thinking I’ll be happy when *insert false reality* only to realize that I simply have to choose that right now.

We make plans, and that’s great but how would we live if we really knew just how limited our time was?

I’m not the same person I was before this happened. I think that my life is forever changed by this. I spent so much time being lost. Chasing things that I never really wanted. Thinking that being well known or popular would somehow sustain me. And none of that matters anymore. How will I impact people around me? How will I show up as authentically as possible? How can I light up every room that I walk into? Make people feel better after being in my presence than they were before they came?

And the reality is, as God reminded me recently because God is funny, that I’ve already done that in some ways. But I want to do more. And that started with pushing myself to finally get these photos done to relaunch this new chapter in my online brand.

I didn’t know Nipsey personally, but I am thankful he lived. And I am more thankful that what a sick and twisted man meant for evil, God has used for good. Nipsey touched so many people. I hope he feels our energy. I hope he knows just how big he did it.

I’m being reminded that every second should feel like it’s stolen. Precious. We’re here for a limited time, it’s the one thing that we know for certain and Nipsey’s death has brought us face to face with that reality. How will we use this time? How will we live in a way that when someone looks back on our life, they can say, it was a life well lived.

Thank you, Nipsey. I’ll try not to think too hard about how much I wish I could have told you that in person. The marathon most certainly continues and has gained so many new runners.

If it was me, I would tell you, "Nigga, live your life and grow"
I'd tell you, "Finish what we started, reach them heights, you know?
And gas the V-12 to the pipe and smoke"