On March 31st, 2019, I was scrolling on Instagram when a picture stopped me in my tracks. It was the first I’d read of Nipsey Hussle being shot in front of his store, The Marathon Clothing, and I was shook.
As post after post began to share the news, I was overcome with sadness. Ermias Joseph Asghedom, known professionally as Nipsey Hussle, would soon be pronounced dead.
Admittedly, I was only vaguely familiar with the rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur, and community activist from Los Angeles, California, but this news hit me hard. I knew immediately that this was a tragic loss for the Culture, the community he adored, and his beautiful partner, children and loved ones who would have to move forward in life without him.
As the day continued I felt a strong nudge from the Holy Spirit and knew I needed to call my brother. I picked up the phone and heard heavy grief on the other end. My brother was stunned, shocked and devastated, and I knew that all I needed to do at that moment was listen.
I listened as he talked about Nipsey Hussle’s business sense and entrepreneurial spirit. I listened as he discussed his commitment to his neighborhood and city, thoughts on gang culture, the theories already surrounding his murder, the way he treated his woman, and how his music had been the soundtrack to my brother’s life over the last decade.
My brother told me of the specific impact Nipsey Hussle’s music had on him when he was serving our country and over 6000 miles away when he learned that our dad died from cancer. And while I can hardly believe that this November will be 10 years since we lost him, this was the first time my brother opened up about how he processed our father’s death.
That part of our conversation is sacred and will remained tucked away safely among my most cherished memories, but it’s certainly not what I expected on that balmy spring day.
That’s the thing about grief though. It’s raw, unpredictable and has the ability to break your heart over and over again.
My heart broke but also further healed that day, as the loss of a man whom I had no real-life connection with, brought me closer to my brother as we both allowed ourselves to feel the deep and ever-present depths of our loss.
Thank you for that, Nipsey. May you rest in peace.