The Importance of Nipsey Hussle

At about 3:20 p.m. PST on March 31, 2019, Nipsey Hussle was shot outside of his Los Angeles clothing store. He was pronounced dead at the hospital soon after.

The fatal shooting of Nipsey should make you angry. The 33-year-old MC, born Ermias Asghedom, was a pillar in his South L.A. community, a philanthropist who invested in the people and programs where he grew up in. At the beginning of the month, he was fresh off a Grammy nomination for Victory Lap, his long-awaited debut album.

The importance of Neighborhood Nip to his local community cannot be overstated. His murder happened a day before he was scheduled to meet with LAPD Chief Michel Moore and Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff “to talk about ways he could help stop gang violence and help us help kids,” Commissioner Soboroff shared on Twitter.

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“Nipsey has always thought about the bigger picture, ever since the beginning of his career.”

Nispey opened Vector 90, a shared workspace in L.A. that focuses on STEM Education and helps cultivate young talent in poor communities with educational opportunities in Silicon Valley. He was involved in the new Destination Crenshaw arts project, a mile-long open-air museum that celebrates and revitalizes Black Los Angeles. Nipsey also invested in World on Wheels, the Mid-City roller rink that was popular in the 1980s and 1990s, as a gang-free place for kids to hang out in South L.A. and reopened it in 2017. In between all of this, he designed the uniforms for the Fatburger restaurant on Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue.

Instead of opening his streetwear brand and store, The Marathon Clothing, in another, ritzier neighborhood, he went back to the place where he was raised, becoming an example of how to invest back in the community. This wasn’t a new response to his growing fame; Nipsey has always thought about the bigger picture, ever since the beginning of his career.

At Russell Simmons’ Get Your Money Summit on September 25, 2006, a very young Nipsey can be seen dropping knowledge about economics, debunking the glorification of gang life in music, and discussing Willie Lynch, all in the span of a five-minute interview. Nipsey had just turned 20.

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