I put my son on to Nipsey Hussle.
Music is one of the things he and I share heavy. We spend hours in the car going back and forth to and from school and basketball practice and games and tournaments and in those hours, he and I share music with one another. He’s given me ASAP Rocky and Young Dolph, among many others, and in turn, I’ve given him Biggie, Jay & Pac, Rakim, and Ghostface. I’ve given him my parents’ music— Earth, Wind, & Fire, Marvin Gaye, Al Greene. Last year, during the very height of basketball season, I gave him Nip.
I remember Victory Lap being on repeat in the car when I picked him up. He asked, “Who is this?” I told him. Michael says, “Oh, I heard something about him. He’s new, right?” I laughed. In the car that day, Michael learned about Slauson Boy, The Marathon, Famous Lies and Unpopular Truths. He learned about a man with a career with deep roots that was just starting to get his well-deserved mainstream bump. We listened to Victory Lap in the car that day. Just another one of the fond memories we share around music, the universal language that truly transcends generations.
So it was Michael who ran downstairs tonight while I was cooking to tell me Nip had been shot, and then again, a few minutes later when I was loading the washing machine, he brought me the even more devastating news of Nipsey’s death. I just stood there, stuck, the fabric softener I was holding suspended in midair.
“Ma?” my son asked. “You okay?”
“It just sucks,” came my response.
I am a person who is deeply empathetic to the human experience, and my heart always aches for people who grieve and experience loss, but celebrity deaths don’t move me to tears too often. I cried in 9th grade when Big died. I cried when Prince died. I felt that familiar grief when Nip died today. A bright candle extinguished all too damn soon. Another casualty of the world we live in.
So imagine I’m already kinda blown… and then I log on Facebook to a million and twenty seven different conspiracy theories about who may be responsible for his death. And I’m instantly mad. I’m scrolling, and everybody has their Sherlock Holmes hat on. All of a sudden, everybody is an investigator. Everybody is qualified to connect dots and draw conclusions. There was post after post of blame and big wild speculation.
Listen. I am in no way telling people how they should or shouldn’t think. But since when does the desire to be right and to be first to report come before empathy in human suffering? I’ve purposely stayed away from the details of what happened (I try to protect my mental health as much as possible), but from what I understand, the man was shot in front of his son. Can you imagine the pain that child must be feeling and the lifelong consequences of watching his father die violently that he will deal with? And Lauren… Can you imagine the pain she must be feeling? Nah… Y’all aren’t imagining anything, because instead of paying your respects for a man who died hours ago, you’re on Facebook, reporting like the ghetto evening news on every conspiracy theory you can conjure.
All I’m saying is that people are hurting. Nip wasn’t just a rapper. He was an activist. His music said something. He supported his own, and gave back. He opened stores in his neighborhood, employed people, gave folks the tools they needed to build their lives. He was in a relationship with a woman that he adored. Did he say problematic shit? Yep. But so do I. So do you. Nobody cares why you canceled him, or why you been knew something would happen to him. Nobody.. cares. Think about the life that was lost and pay your respects. Leave the conspiracy theories for later, while you give people the time and space they need to grieve.
Nothing matters in this moment, except that on March 31, 2109, Airmiess Joseph Asghedom, known professionally as Nipsey Hussle, died in Los Angeles. He was was talented and insightful. He was an activist, an advocate, and he gave back to the community he came from. The music industry will mourn the loss of such a dope individual.
I’m not invalidating your conspiracy theories or your detective work. What I am saying is that right now? Nobody goddamn cares. Extend your condolences. Recognize the gift the world lost to senseless gun violence.
Beyond that… Hush. Please. Let people rest in peace.