Why We Need To Send More ‘Lauren’ Texts To The Brilliant Black Men We Love
How Lauren London taught me to appreciate the Nipsey in my life.
Family, friends and fans recently celebrated the life of Ermias Asghedom, also known as Nipsey Hussle. The rapper was shot and killed in front of his Marathon Clothing store on March 31. He was 33 years old.
One of the most frequently shared videos from the funeral was a clip of Lauren London's remarks. Like many others, I'd been waiting to hear what she would say about the loss of her boyfriend and the father of her son.
Lauren had lived the fear that Black women face every time their Black men leave home. No matter how rich, famous, educated, well-dressed or well-mannered they might be, for any number of reasons, they might not make it back home.
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I reasoned, there was no way her remarks could have joy. I was prepared to be sad with her, to cry a little and feel for her loss. But when I watched the video and read the text message Lauren had sent to Nipsey several weeks before his passing, I felt something different.
As Black women, we are often told we will never find what Lauren found. Yet, somehow, she'd found Ermias, someone who was clearly her match. She'd found him and lost him, tragically, in such a short period of time. My heart broke for her. At the same time, I marveled at the authenticity of her text message to him and the fact that she'd thought to send it to him while he was still living, and for no particular occasion.
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All of a sudden I felt overwhelmed with gratefulness. As if I was reading a checklist, I read her words and noted how the man in my life shared so many of the characteristics that Ermias had — how he makes me feel safe, loved and free to be silly and imperfect, how he's allowed me to love a man like I never have before and how he tells me all the time of his love for me. I already knew, but at that moment it became crystal clear: I'd found my Ermias.
I began to think about the fragility of life, how we can lose anyone at any moment. I wondered if he knows how important he is in my life. Do I tell him enough? I wanted to send him a text like the one Lauren sent Ermias so he would know, while he's here, what he means to me.
This could certainly apply to any couple but, particularly for Black women who are in love and building families with Black men, we need to start sending "Lauren" texts more often.
There is no disputing the facts: Black men have it harder than most.
In America, Black men earn less than white men with similar backgrounds, they suffer worse health than any other racial group, are nearly six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and are more likely to receive longer prison sentences than those imposed on similarly situated white men. That's why loving them requires more from us than it might take to love someone who faces less systematic oppression. But when you find a Black man who is willing to fight through all of that — for themselves, you and your family — you celebrate them.
Since his untimely death, I've heard people say we need to honor the Nipseys in our own communities, the ones who launch businesses, hire within their communities and give to those who need it most. I agree, we do. Even further, we need to honor the Nipseys in our own homes: the fathers who show up, the brothers who protect and defend us in the absence of fathers, the boyfriends, husbands and significant others who help us grow and learn to love again.
Send them a "Lauren" text.
Tell them how you feel about them, not only on Father's Day, Valentine's Day or a birthday, but at a random moment, when they make your heart smile, or when they're lying in bed beside you, sleeping.
Unfortunately, Lauren had to share part of her message to Ermias after he was gone. But in doing so, she gave us a gift. She reminded us to tell our Nipseys we love them while they're still here.