It's been a year since the self-made, neighborhood Legend himself, Nispey Hussle, was taken from us. Crazy how I remember that day like it was yesterday... my moms asked me if I'd heard about Nipsey recently then I get texts from friends about him being shot then in a blink of an eye he was pronounced dead. I'm not big on emotions and I felt silly for feeling the way I felt about a person I'd never met or even seen in person, but I couldn't help it... I was really hurt about it. It was tough to deal with yet it was a moment that put my mental in a different place entirely - everything I was pursuing at the time just changed and so did I. This is dedicated to the late, great, Legend, Nayborhood Nip, aka Nipsey Hussle. - I miss you like a big homie..
Nipsey Hussle epitomized the notion of being completely self-made while staying true to who we was, what he knew, and the man he knew he wanted to become. You hear it in all his lyrics, more now than ever, the manifestation was always there back on Mailbox Money - he always knew he was gon' make it. Always knew he was gon' be a mogul beyond measure. He brought life to his neighborhood, LA as a whole, and then some through what he felt we deserved. Guess you could say Nipsey was an urban planner without the extra shit. It's something you can't help but to admire with wide eyes and an even bigger drive to go harder after everything you want out of life. But, more than that it opened up my eyes to what you can really do when you genuinely put back into ya community without the underlying agenda - it's different when ya coming 100% from the heart.
I was struggling to find myself in pushing for that type of drive + impact in my own career; I was lost and frustrated cause I felt like no one was listening or that no one cared. I was focused on how to make people feel me through "traditional" professional moves when in reality I should've been focused on how to be somebody to the community I was serving - I had to connect with the "bigger, bigger picture" to get it right. Nipsey lit that fire in me - I watched "Buy Back The Block" on youtube every night back in like 2016, when I first started grad school, I knew then that's what I really wanted out of this degree/my career. Reflecting back on how that video made me feel and how his death made me feel, I was ashamed at how I'd let myself get caught in the rat race of doing things without a purpose and without passion. I know better now... I learned a lot about coming to the table harder and more confident no matter who's on the other side - keep the same energy, know ya worth, and stay genuine.
I say all of that to say... thank you Nip. It's less hurt now, more inspiration. The whole world misses what he brought to the music world; mostly to the community he relentlessly cared and advocated for. If there was an urban planner that set the bar for me - it'd be Nayborhood Nipsey. Everything he strived for, put in place/help put in place, and created for his hood is what we're supposed to do in our roles. Can't tell me he's not a clear depiction of what urban planning means to Black/Brown neighborhoods.
I'm excited to tell my classes about the legacy of Nipsey Hussle and create courses/workshops around what he created in his community. March 31st is always gon' be Hussle Day in my book and it's a day of celebration of a Legend - nothing less. Jam Victory Lap, Mailbox Money, Slauson Boy 2 or whatever ya favorite Nipsey project is LOUD AF today. No matter what happens... The Marathon continues.
Legends Never Die.
Photo taken by Jorge Peniche.
Mural painted in Oak Cliff - artists: @stemandthorn and @hatziel.
"You've got to have faith in what you're doing and not take no for an answer." -Nipsey Hussle
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