The Marathon Continues

On March 31, 2019, the city of Los Angeles lost an angel. Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed in South Central LA, he was 33.

Born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, his first name meaning “Sent by God” and his life work spoke true to that.

Hussle was more than his music, he was a community activist, philanthropist, entrepreneur, father, long-time boyfriend to actress Lauren London and simply just a black man trying to make it and give back.

Hussle wasn’t a stranger to the streets, in fact, that is what makes this tragedy so hard to come to terms with. Born and raised in the Crenshaw district of South Central LA or more specifically the 60s. A neighborhood that doesn’t have the best reputation, but Hussle saw the beauty within it and within its people.

From the outside looking in South LA is viewed as a war zone. And in the media it served as a backdrop for gang violence and "hood" antics. But for Hussle, he saw an opportunity to rebuild the community and change the narrative. He never lost sight of where he was from. With the success of his music career, he took his earnings and invested in the inner city, providing jobs and opportunities to the community members.  

Last year Hussle launched his Too Big to Fail initiative in collaboration with Vector 90, a STEM center and co-working space for youth in the Crenshaw district. In addition, he was also involved in community projects such as the new Destination Crenshaw arts project, an open-air museum, and outdoor art and culture center celebrating Black Los Angeles.

Hussle donated shoes and school supplies to his local elementary schools and funded renovations of playgrounds and basketball courts.

He actively promoted black ownership. And if his philanthropic work wasn't enough his streetwear brand, The Marathon Clothing, is a huge success selling signature “Crenshaw” sweatshirts, t-shirts and accessories.

A staple to the community. Located on the corner of Crenshaw and Slauson, in a plaza that has played such a pivotal role in his life as well as career and woefully in his untimely death.  

On a Sunday none of us will ever forget Ermias Joseph “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom was unfairly taken from us, by a man who is reported to have known him. In the very parking lot that started his journey and has so much history not only to Nipsey but to the residents of South Central.

When news broke it brought the city to a halt. To this day I still find it hard to believe. A man that I had never personally met, but would see in passing has had such an impact on my life as well as many others. The city is hurting and it feels as if it will never be the same.

It’s sad that it takes a person to lose their life to get the world to really appreciate all that they had accomplished. It is important as a city that we don't let his legacy die. Nipsey saw a light in us and it’s time we see it in ourselves. We are deserving of a better tomorrow.

Nipsey may be gone, but the marathon will continue.

 

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