Nipsey Hussle: A Man With And For Others

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Bazil Martinez

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Photograph: Jorge Peniche/PR

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Nipsey Hussle visiting a local school in Los Angeles.

Nipsey Hussle, as known as Ermias Joseph Asghedom, was a rapper originating from Crenshaw California. He was also an entrepreneur and most importantly a community activist in Crenshaw, his hometown. Hussle was recognized in recent news as an activist and as a public servant for the black community, particularly in Los Angeles. Hussle successfully navigated the complex world of the entertainment industry and wanted to focus on “giving solutions and inspiration” to young black men like him. Hussle was able to speak through his raps starting in 2005. Hussle intentionally talked of fighting through oppression as a black man in today’s climate. Hussle was good friends with all types of people in his community including the LAPD. This was considered rare as American rappers often have a bad reputation with the police force. But it could be said that Hussle was a man with and for others.

Crenshaw has a reputation of being a community which faces many challenges. Hussle wanted to change that. He helped small businesses within the city of Crenshaw. This past January, Hussle and a real estate investor bought an L-shaped shopping center on Slauson Avenue where one Master Burger and Hussle’s clothing store could be found. Hussle’s clothing store assisted many with appropriate clothing for work-related requirements. Master Burger was a place Hussle knew from his childhood–a place for which he had strong ties. He could not see it go under. So he took upon his self to buy the strip mall and help the burger joint out. Hussle also felt a need to advocate for members of his community whose homes were threatened by plans for a new Metro Line. The people living in Crenshaw feared gentrification. Gentrification is a process in many urban locations where the poorer in the community are priced out of being able to live in their community. Rental properties are bought up, tenants are evicted, buildings are razed, and more exclusive residences replace large swaths of the community. Gentrification fundamentally changes a community. Hussle as a community advocate and activist worked against the proposed plans for the Metro Line.

Nipsey Hussle’s shopping center where he killed.

Hussle was fatally shot on March 31 in the parking lot outside of the same building he had bought early January while picking up clothing for an old friend who had just served a 20-year sentence in prison. This was the same parking lot he played in as a child where he grew up and learned to “hussle”. It was also the scene for the sudden end to the 33 years of his life. He left many unfinished advocacy objectives. For example, Hussle had intended to meet with Roc Nation and the LAPD on April 1 to discuss combating gang violence.

Hussle’s public memorial was held at the Staples Center on Thursday, April 11. Many artists came forward and publicly thanked Hussle for how he assisted them and provided inspiration. Even former President Barack Obama celebrated Hussle’s life and legacy as a man with and for others. Nipsey Hussle will never be forgotten for the good he did within his community. Hussle did not “get out” from the city of Crenshaw but instead invested back into it to lift it up. There is no better legacy.

President Barack Obama’s letter addressing the murder of Nipsey Hussle.

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