Nipsey Hussle, known equally as a rapper and an activist in the black community, was gunned down and murdered yesterday, March 31st, 2019. His death is hitting me like a ton of bricks! I was alone with my son when I received the news, and the first thing I did was grab him close, kiss him, and said a quick prayer.

As a mom…

My heart breaks for Ermias Asghedom’s (his birth name) mother. No mother should have to bury their son. As I write this, tears stream down my face at the thought of it. I’m a mother of a beautiful little black boy and I’m certain I would have difficulty breathing if he were ever taken away from me. I’m broken at the thought of it, but this is her reality.

As a soul-mate

I never met Nipsey or Lauren London, his girlfriend of five years. In my head, they were like the Prince and Princess of The Rap Game. They seemed perfect for each other. Their recent couple’s quiz feature for GQ Magazine showed their love on beautiful display. How does Lauren move on from here? How will she reconcile the fact that her love will never walk through the front door of their home again? How will she stay strong enough to explain this to Kross, their three-year-old son? Her pain and grief must be unbearable and I weep for her.

As a citizen

Nipsey lived his life the way many of us talk about and fantasize that we would. How cool would it be to own the building down the street from where you grew up? To employ your community and create new opportunities for the impoverished to better themselves? How important would it be to share life-changing information with the people who need it most? Nipsey dedicated his life to this! He owned a clothing store in Crenshaw called Marathon Clothing, where he frequently hired aspiring artists. Most importantly, Nipsey gave back to the kids in his old neighborhood. For example, he invested in a coworking space in South Central LA called Vector 90, which provided a place for youth to take classes in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

In the same vein, Nipsey was also part of a group who created Destination Crenshaw, a 1.3 mile open air museum honoring artistic achievements by African-Americans. In addition to all of his philanthropic work, he was also working on a documentary on the famous Dr. Sebi, who claimed he successfully cured AIDS. After his death, L.A. Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff announced that the rapper had recently arranged a Monday meeting between himself, Roc Nation representatives, and local police officials to work out ideas to help curb gang violence in the city.

A Proud Mom

Nipsey was the kind of role model and citizen our children needed! I don’t want to romanticize his life and pretend he was the second coming of Jesus or the perfect man but what he was, was a great example of overcoming your circumstances and reaching a hand back to help others. He was what many of us in the black community love to see from our heroes who achieve success.

Everyone always asks me, what sport my son Deucey will play. Because his father and I were both professional athletes they assume it’s a priority of mine. Well I’ll tell you this, if my son grew up to have the impact that Nipsey Hussle had in his community, nothing would make me more proud!

It’s important for young people to see individuals that look like them doing great things. Nipsey knew he was a role model and embraced it. As a result, his message of love, self-empowerment, community enrichment, and legacy will live on forever but I can’t help but feel an emptiness and hollowness from his death.

Now, our only way forward is to keep the irresistible force of this river flowing… It must keep its course! We must continue to invest in our communities, to seek knowledge to better ourselves and fight against gun violence. We must commit to making Nipsey’s life’s work live on…for our future generation.

This is my perspective on the short life of a man that was so impactful and a death that leaves me devastated!

I would love to hear from you about how Nipsey or anyone else that you loved and lost to gun violence has affected you.

Love Mommi Sanya