The Marathon Continues
For nearly two weeks, the world has been in a state of shock and disbelief. That first night, I stayed up until after 3am reading every post on my timeline. It was too much to deal with so for the first time in a longtime, I logged out of not just my personal accounts, but out of The Sassy Rant accounts as well. The way I saw it, I’d be gone until I had something to say.
*The following post was written Monday, April 1, 2019 and revised on April 12, 2019
Eventually, that thing you’re running from will catch up to you. It’s 9:40pm and I’m just about home after an extremely long day. Ever since Lloyd made the announcement last night, there’s been a knot in my chest. Once home from the concert, I tossed and turned for most of the 3 hours of sleep I tried to get. Before I knew it, my alarm was sounding off and it was then the nightmare had become real.
Ermias Asghedom, famously recognized as Nipsey Hussle, was murdered on March 31, 2019 outside of his clothing store, The Marathon, in Los Angeles, California. A friend and I were at the B2K Millennium concert at The Prudential Center and had been reliving our yesteryears as Lloyd, Ashanti and Ja Rule finished up their set. Before exiting the stage, Lloyd spoke into the mic and shared what some of us had already knew, Nipsey had been shot. He went on to say a few words that are all a blur to me now but it was the statement that followed that none of us concertgoers were prepared for. “Rest In Peace Nipsey Hussle.” Jaws dropped, tears fell, and the sound of shock echoed throughout the venue. The Ying Yang Twins took the stage as my mind had left the room. Physically, I was there, pinned to my seat as streams of salty water raced down my cheeks. Mentally, I was gone. All I remember thinking is, “Damn, this shouldn’t have been Nip.”
That night I lost myself scrolling through various Instagram pages watching videos of Nip dropping knowledge, pics of he and Lauren, and posts from friends and fans all expressing their hurt and disbelief. Until that time, I hadn’t listened to much of his music, but had watched his work in the community and always respected and admired his love and loyalty to his people. Once home, I tried to drown out the sadness that consumed me with the sound of his voice. Nipsey laid out an entire blueprint and outline for what to do and how to do it, so I’m grateful. Still, the pain in my heart was far too great to rationalize beyond my hurt. By this time, it was 2:25am. “I know you’re asleep. Can we talk about Nip tomorrow? I’m feeling a lot and it really does hurt.” After hitting send, I closed my eyes and spoke to the universe. Satisfied she’d heard my heart, I closed my eyes and exhaled “Asé.”
Nipsey Hussle was a Father, Activist, Musician, and Community Leader making good on the promises made between he and his creator. His work was cut short and it reminds me of the inevitable fate of many who are called on this journey. It reminds me of Malcolm, of Pac and so many others. It reminds me of myself — a person who is dedicated to changing conditions in the community and beyond, solely for the benefit of our people. At work later that day, Racine texted back. Of the few people I speak to regularly, he’s one of two men I trust, when I’m feeling my most vulnerable, to keep it real and point out the logic my emotions are trying to overpower. Sitting at my desk with tears running down my face, I told Ra everything I had been feeling. I admitted that I was afraid of dying, that I second guessed my ability to survive this fight and that I wondered if it was even worth it at this point. Nipsey’s death represented all of that. Surviving the hood, going back with ladders, rope, safety nets and ring buoys to save as many people as possible. Doing this and more to still be taken out. “Is it worth it,” I questioned.
Conversations with Racine are never surface level – he always has a shovel and fresh water. The shovel, for you to dig deep enough to get to the root of your problem (that you may not even know is a problem) and the water, to refresh you after you’ve done the work. I’m grateful for our friendship and the many lessons he’s bestowed upon me – even when all I wanted to do (like today) is hide out and let the pieces fall wherever. But not on his watch. Ra understood what I felt and helped me to realize that there was in fact a deeply rooted issue at hand beyond being hurt over Nip. Throughout my years on this earth, I’ve experienced the death of aunts and uncles, a grand and great grandparent, other relatives, friends, peers, etc. and with all of that, I’ve never learned how to detach from their deaths and connect only to their lives. Just days prior to all of this, another friend and I had a very similar conversation about my not ever healing or properly mourning when someone transitions. This is obviously a lesson the universe wants me to pay attention to since it keeps arising.
Ra summed it up for me, “This is your test and lesson of master before you can move forward to your next phase of life.” Per usual, this is something I didn’t want to deal with. I told him that the feeling I now felt is usually where I “bow out.” He shot back, “But you can’t bow out, huh? You’re forced to face something now, huh?” I laughed a little, reading the text in his voice but still wanting to slip away and hide out. “You’re trying to control what you have no control over. You simultaneously fear death and feel obligated to carry the burden for everybody.” I sat there, mouth open while nodding in agreement to what I had just read. “He knows me too well,” I thought. But he’s right. This was the root which was now exposed and had to be dealt with. What I’m realizing now is that I try to do it all – my work, yours and theirs too – just to be sure it’s done right. I struggle with sudden change and with loosening my grips on any situation that involves me. And honestly, having accepted those things to be true, I can’t say that I’m totally “fixed” and have given up my days trying to be in charge of everything and everybody. What I have acknowledged is that life happens whether you want it to or not; whether you fight against it or surrender to it. The only thing you can do is your absolute best and trust that it is enough.
Nip’s death pulled out a lot of emotion and resulted in a lot of heart soreness and tears. But it also ignited a lot of flames and shook up the culture. His transition reminds us of what we all should strive for — completing our mission. In 33 years, he accomplished everything he was sent to this earth to do, no more or less — and instead of mourning over his death, we ought to celebrate his life.
“The game is gonna test never fold. Stay 10 toes down. It’s not on you, it’s in you. And what’s in you, they can’t take away. And he’s in all of us.” – Lauren London, Nipsey Hussle
The Marathon Continues…