Like So Many Others, Nipsey Hussle’s Death Has Also Left Me Asking ‘Why?’
"Many across the world mourn. Not because we lost a beloved rapper, but because we lost a voice."
I’ve been wanting to write a piece about the poison — the toxicity — that exist in the Black community. I sat on this topic for months, since late July of last year. But today, it’s as if all the words are coming at me at once.
Yesterday, we lost one of the most influential men of our generation, Nipsey Hussle. Gunned down in front of his own establishment. In front of his friends, family and his child. As a fan, I was immediately hurt. I’ve been following this man's career for a decade. I’ve witnessed him grow from his early beginnings, to being a Grammy-nominated artist. I was hurt, lost for words and couldn’t concentrate. But then that hurt turned into anger.
Why? I kept asking myself, "why?" Why would someone want to end the life of a man who was a beacon to his community? A man of knowledge, and someone who wasn’t afraid to share that wealth of knowledge. He was rebuilding and rebuying his home. Again I found myself asking, "why?"
That’s when I was hit with a previous question that roamed my mind for some time: What created this toxicity that keeps us killing our own? What created the jealousy and hate that made a man decide to take the life of a father, a brother, a son? When I first thought of this question and topic, I didn’t keep it to myself. I asked others to chime in as well and help me breakdown the origins of this problem. We all agreed that the issues of this poison began in the '80s. One of my peers stated it was due to rap music and it’s damaging persona and lyrics. I agreed.
Rap music has definitely done a number of the Black community and we are still suffering from those effects today. But deep down, I knew this wasn’t the beginning. In order for us to find the root of this issue, we have to list the major issues that have contributed massive damage to people of color.
We know the government supplied drugs to the Black community. We know they supplied guns to the Black community. The government created policies and laws that restricted Black people from moving to and living in certain areas. Redlining placed people in project housing. Welfare also helped divide the Black family. The government gave us the tools of our destruction when we were at our lowest. When we felt we were all out of options, but didn’t want to continue to live in despair. It’s no secret that traumatic events can alter a person's DNA. So is that the beginning of this toxicity that continues to plague us? Did the years of constant poverty create a generation of people who lack empathy and love for your fellow man? Or is the culprit still around, continuing its destruction of the Black race?
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The culprit I speak of is non other than the government. We all know the government did plenty to aid the destruction of people of color — and not stopping at just the things I mentioned before. It’s well known knowledge that they were behind the killings of many of our leaders. The special assignments they implemented to infiltrate our organizations, like COINTELPRO. In almost every city that has had social injustice, there are many activists who have been murdered, and deep down, we all have an idea of who was behind it. The government is considered the biggest gang/criminal organization by some. Many would suggest that it was actually them that had a part in the turn of the Bloods and the Crips — offsprings of the Black Panther Party, originally created for something different than what they became.
As we look at some of the details around Nipsey’s murder, it’s not hard to see why some would suspect higher law enforcement being involved. He was a man going against everything they created and tried to use to keep us in an endless cycle of poverty. He was promoting financial literacy — something that is not taught to us — by promoting and taking part in the “Buy Back The Block” initiative. We have failed to see the value of our neighborhoods. We’ve moved away, and now the areas we grew up in have now become gentrified. Buying back the block meant a shift in the power structure. Regaining power back into the neighborhoods. Redistributing economic buying power back into the Black communities by creating multiple business ventures that brought many jobs to people who were once denied employment. He was a force that was rebuilding everything they’ve tried to destroy. He was aware of Big Pharma and how they are monetizing off us by keeping us sick. He wasn’t just a rapper anymore — he was a leader, one of our leaders.
It’s hard to escape the question of "why?" Why take away someone who meant so much to so many people? Why did that person have so much hate in his heart that he felt this was the best choice of action. Was it jealousy, envy, hate or fear?
All I know is this: for us to really rid ourselves of this toxicity, we must attack the root of the problem. Of course many won’t accompany us on this journey, sad to say. But they chose to be lost. They chose to stay in the darkness that surrounds them and refuse to be enlightened.
Many across the world mourn. Not because we lost a beloved rapper, but because we lost a voice. A powerful voice that could make moves and changes. A voice of inspiration and motivation. Let’s continue to keep his voice echoing loud and strong, but also let’s keep his mission with us as well. Let’s utilize that when it comes to ridding ourselves, our neighborhoods and communities of the toxicity that has caused so many senseless deaths. We’ve loss too many voices in communities of color all across the world. Let’s do what we can to make sure these toxic behaviors don’t continue to spread theirs powerful voices anymore.