It was Late May 26, 2018, I was in La to work on our feature Film ‘Stranded on Death Row,’ the Rise and Fall of Suge Knight and Death Row Records.’ Our Executive Producer ‘Dre’ scored us all-access passes to the ‘Welcome to the West Coast’ Music Concerts feat Luniz, Mozzy, East Siders and the Head Lined Nipsey Hussle. Citizens Bank Arena was sold out, wall to wall with fans and well-wishers anxious to see their favorite artists. To keep it 100 it was the first time outside of work that I went to a rap concert. I didn’t go there to work a tricaster, wasn’t there to hold a camera… I was there as a fan and supporter of one of my favorite Rappers Ermias Davidson Asghedom; the man known worldwide by his stage name Nipsey Hussle.
When I got word that he was about to be in the building I quickly left the stage and headed towards the artist entrants and ‘got in line’ with the rest of his people who formed a gauntlet of supporters. On his stroll by I said wassup and told him my partner and mentor Ryan Combs with whom Nipsey did a film with (Wrath of Cain feat Ving Rhames) was also in the building…. My memory is a bit fuzzy from there but under his low cut eyelids, he acknowledges me and prepared for his set.
In the Spring and Summer of 2018’ ‘ Last Time that I Checc’d’ became our Official Song of the Year; a musical war cry that signaled a transition from obscurity to ascension in our professional lives.
We were in talks to have Lauren London in our film, the Director wanted Nipsey to possibly play Snoop Dogg and our music people were trying to work him into the film’s soundtrack. Everything was looking great………….
………..Yesterday I was in New York for an art Gallery @Moma and somewhere between sculptures chronicling the War in Syria by artist Simone Fattal and a mountain of meat at a Columbian steak house in Long Island City my phone went dead. By the time I got a charge I received, texts and voicemails from my partners in Los Angeles that quickly filled my inbox with the worst news that I heard in years: Nipsey Hussle was SHOT AND KILLED. Not only was he murdered, but he was murdered in front of the same piece of property that he endeavored would later revitalize his hometown of Crenshaw, Los Angeles.
In the hours following the shooting, my sources called to let me know that Nipsey’s murder was possibly due to infighting within his circle. I have no idea if this is true or not…What we do know is that Nipsey tweeted this out…..
If you think about it, it kinda fits……Whoever shot him, knew where he would be, specifically targeted him (shot 5 times; once in the head), somehow got close enough to shoot him
THIS ARTICLE HAS SINCE BEEN UPDATED TO INCLUDE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION (4/2, 4/4)****
A suspect Eric Holder, 29, Black Male was arrested on April 2nd for one count of murder and 2 counts of attempted Murder. Famed District Attorney. Chris Darden (from the OJ tria) is currently representing Holder.
One thing for sure is that Nipsey is dead and I can’t stop thinking about what his death means for not only Crenshaw, but the millions of people all over the world who were influenced by Nipsey’s philosophy on Business, Black Empowerment and Community Building.
Today we won’t talk about Nipsey’s affiliation with the Rolling 60’s Crips, we won’t talk about the 10 year journey to the launch of his first studio album ‘Victory Lap,’ we won’t even talk about his grammy nomination for said album….Today we will talk about everything wrong with Nipsey’s death and the potential fallout.
During times of uncertainty I often fall back on my Christian upbringing and I believe JESUS said it best when he said
“Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns, among their relatives, and in their own households.” Mark 6:4-6
There has been a very troubling history of well to do men of color who met their untimely end while trying to help the people of their home – Premiere Patrice Lumumba was assassinated in the DRC, Thomas Sankara was betrayed by his own friend and confidante Blaise Compaore,’ Malcom X was assassinated by men he once called brothers in Harlem, even JESUS was killed by his people in Jerusalem.
If JESUS isn’t your cup of tea, maybe
“Hell no I’ll never live in Baton Rouge again”
“When you the only one riding in Bentley’s and foreign cars …you become a target”
“Where ever you from you get hated the most”
“Most rappers die in they own city, it’s a fact”
Why are righteous, and talented men of color constantly under the threat of violence and death at the hands of their own?
Despite the prophetic words of JESUS and Boosie’s thoughts, Nipsey sought to defy the odds by reinvesting in the community that spawned him. With the help of his business partner David Gross,) Nipsey brought the Plaza on Slauson and Crenshaw in the cities ‘opportunity zone’ and erected his flagship store ‘Marathon Clothing.’ According to Forbes Magazine, the idea was to create a business interest there that would make it easier for a venture capitalist to funnel money into low-income areas. The long term plan was to eventually flatten the property and redesign it into a mixed-use luxury space for residential and commercial properties.
Nipsey even opened a Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics) facility to address the black communities disproportionate focus on entertainment and athletics. According to Nipsey:
“In our culture, there’s a narrative that says, ‘Follow the athletes, follow the entertainers,'” he said. “And that’s cool but there should be something that says, ‘Follow Elon Musk, follow [Mark] Zuckerberg.’ I think that with me being influential as an artist and young and coming from the inner city, it makes sense for me to be one of the people that’s waving that flag.”
- Now that Nipsey’s dead who will carry on this legacy? What Black celebrity will champion the cause to make excellence in math and science a priority in the black community?
During an interview with the Breakfast Club in February 2018 Nipsey revealed that he was doing a documentary on Dr. Sebi, a holistic healer who claimed to cure Aids but was later sued by the state of Ny for said Claims in 1985. However, like a good Hollywood movie Dr. Sebi beat his case against the state of New York and successfully defended himself against Federal charges of the same claims.
A celebrity rapper doing a documentary on a now-deceased alternative medicine man shouldn’t ruffle any feathers right? But in the Interview below Nipsey said that he’d been warned that doing this documentary might cost him his life. If half of Dr. Sebi’s claims were true then that means big losses for big pharma, which would be a strong motivator to kill someone. Entertainer’s from Michael Jackson to Lisa Left Eye Lopez, Steven Seagal, John Travolta, and Eddie Murphy were all clients of Dr. Sebi.
Regardless of your thoughts on alternative medicine, Dr. Sebi had natural remedies that people believed in. Any spotlight on Dr. Sebi and his practices could potentially upend the stranglehold that pharmaceutical companies leverage over ailing patients. Even social media provocateur @brotherpolight (through a teary-eyed video posted yesterday) claimed to have had his diabetes cured by Dr. Sebi.
Now that Nipsey’s gone who will spread the message of Dr. Sebi’s miraculous cures? Will this amazing documentary ever see the light of day?
For years guys like Nipsey and reformed Gang Leader Big U have pushed for a reduction in gang violence. Ironically Nipsey was scheduled to speak with the Los Angeles Police Commissioner on April 1st, a day after he lost his life. Nipsey was frequently in collaboration with acts associated with other gangs like YG, Kendrick Lamar and the Game. Nipsey’s general philosophy was that whether you are for red or blue that everything was about respect; he claimed to have had friends and associates from other gangs and appeared to be pushing towards a narrative with community development as the focus.
- The death of Nipsey irrevocably silenced another voice pushing for unity in the community. Whose going to fill in the gap where Nipsey’s voice once occupied?
The most troubling aspect of Nipsey’s death is the legacy that’s left behind in the minds of impressionable youth around the country. How could we have an honest conversation about the importance of education, finances, and investment when most of our youth only see success in the field of entertainment, sports or drug dealing? During the civil rights movement of the 60’s the bastard children of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr and the Black Panthers fueled a drug war and gang culture that still haunts us today. You ask most people about how we got here as a culture and most people couldn’t tell you. Look at the fallout from Saddam Hussein’s execution after the first Iraq War. Look at how the death of one man destabilized an entire region for almost 2 decades…….Now think about this, what are the results of the murder, imprisonment, and marginalization of Black Leaders in America? One can only wonder.
R.I.P Ermias Davidson Asghedom, may we meet again.