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The Marathon still continues

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

Happy Friday yall! This JessRec has no recs – just a reflection. (trigger warning – death)

First and foremost, I feel like days are all blurred together since working from home but Wednesday stuck out to me the most. April 1, 2019 - Ermias Asghedom: A father, brother, husband, advocate, and prominent rapper … Nipsey Hussle, was killed.

When the news broke out that Nipsey Hussle had died, I felt like my world stop for a bit but wasn’t sure why. Grief came over me for an artist that I barely knew. Why was this so important to me? Why did I have emotions about Nipsey’s death? I barely listened to his music. I didn’t know his background story. I only knew he dated Lauren London. Why do I have these feelings.

These feelings kept going as my work day kept going. A lot of my friends on social media did that day were paying tribute to Nip, saying how he influenced them. There were the typical “If you didn’t rock with Nip before he died, you’re a bandwagoner” post too. But where do I land? I knew of him. I’ve heard him debut on other songs by rap artist… so do I count as a fan? Or a bandwagoner? Either way, we were all grieving a loss… but I still couldn’t understand how or why I felt this way.

My only other black co-worker at the time came to my office with the same grief. We processed our emotions out loud, together. I never had a space to do that before because my office settings before that were predominately white and deaths of unarmed black men or death of black people, went over their heads. Our other co-workers didn’t know of Nip… really didn’t understand why we felt grief.

My co-worker and I came to the realization that what happened to Nip, we’ve seen before and could have easily been someone we knew. Gun violence is something my co-worker and I both know all too well. It’s been around us before we were even born. Growing up in Austin, my neighborhood is always on the news across the country as an example of how dangerous Chicago is. My neighborhood is more than that but no one ever tells the stories of the small businesses, co-ops, or support programs our own people create. Our grief was for Nip… but for black men, black young boys, our black students, the black community in general.

Nipsey Hussle was more than a rapper, he was an advocate. From his upbringing in Crenshaw,LA, Nipsey gave back to his community that gave to him. He was more than Crip: he was an emcee, fashion designer, business owner, leader, and more. Nipsey’s Marathon store was a staple in his community. His store provided jobs within the community and brought people to share common ground. Later on, we opened a STEM center called Vector90. Nipsey invested in his community. He bought many shops to recycle money to his own.

I think the thing I respect about him is his dedication to his community. His roots are apart of him and he gave back to those who gave to him. To me, that’s what I, hopefully, have been able and can continue to do for my own. My upbringing in this city is important to me and it’s one that I want to share with others.

I think this reflection was a way for me to express how I felt about Nip… but also to express that even though there is a lot of uncertainty right now, know that you matter and the work you do for your own communities (whatever they may be or look like) is important. Nipsey defied and broke more odds as a Crip, as a rapper… as black man in America that are still recognized. Everyone gets dealt a hand in life… but what you do with it is up to you.

This article is the one I shared a year ago that summed up my feelings that day:

My only rec in this, his music. This is one that was played a lot after his passing and first I added to my playlist (forewarning – explicit). Enjoy.

As my favorite podcast duo would say - drink your water… take your meds… call your person (whoever they may be.)

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