Ermias Asghedom, more widely known as Nipsey Hussle, was fatally shot on the same soil that he helped to establish and bring recognition to. He was murdered in the shopping center on Crenshaw and Slauson that housed his Marathon clothing store, the same site he recently became owner of. On March 31, 2019, Los Angeles, specifically the Crenshaw District, lost a change agent that promoted financial literacy and freedom, as well as compassion and empathy. His untimely demise has since developed a collective consciousness across the nation.
Deriving from the French phrase conscience collective, collective consciousness is the shared set of beliefs, ideas, or attitudes operating as a unifying force within society. Essentially, collective consciousness unites individual attitudes into a greater whole. Nipsey Hussle’s death, which illuminated his impact to the community, has extended beyond Crenshaw and Slauson and the hip-hop community. Unfortunately, it took his death to gain a greater understanding and showcase his passion for helping the Crenshaw community.
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Nipsey Hussle was a member of the Rolling 60s crip gang, and that is what most people first saw and connected him with. However, I grew up in the surrounding areas, even attending high school on the adjacent corner of Crenshaw and Slauson, and saw firsthand the development of "Neighborhood Nip." He was the success story of making it out of the trenches and becoming someone the community could relate to and aspire to be.
I wore my Crenshaw sweatshirt proudly because of the simple fact that Nip represented something far greater than just that corner. The world now knows the Neighborhood Nip everyone from L.A. loved. Our collective mourning has also sparked a collective passion and pursuit to be our best and the best for our communities. This is greatly exemplified by the gang truce that took place in Los Angeles, which ended (or paused) a 40-year highly fatal tension amongst local gangs. A single person, Nipsey Hussle, was able to bring together people with opposing attitudes, who harbored generational hatred for one another. Anyone with a good understanding and grasp on Los Angeles gang culture truly understands how powerful and monumental that is.
As we mourn together, we are also pushing one another to find our true purpose and to not let sucka s**t infiltrate our passions and journey. In the stream of tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, there is no denying that Nipsey has served as an inspiration to all. This collective consciousness that we possess must push all of us, especially Black people, to constantly support and encourage one another. This collective consciousness must continue to motivate and push each other to greatness. In the words of Nipsey Hussle Tha Great, the marathon continues.