Love. Very few actually know what this word means and even less knows what it entails. I know, that sounds like the beginning of a Musiq Soulchild song, but that does not make it any less true.
The thing is love is multifaceted. It does not just come in the form of romance. It’s one of the most powerful forces that drives this world. Nipsey Hussle understood that, which becomes more apparent every day as we all bare witness to all the lives he touched while he was on this Earth.
On April 11, 2019, we sent the late great Nipsey Hussle home. He was so much to so many. He was an artist, a father, a son, a brother, a friend, a husband, a provider, a protector, a revolutionary, and a hustler. But the one thing that stood out most about him was that he was an educator. He educated us on what it means to truly love. The proof is in the outcries.
From the number of tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts, to the tattoos, concert dedications, or the sold out Staple Center, and the beautiful eulogies shared at his memorial, there is no doubt Nipsey Hussle was loved abundantly because he knew how to love.
His partner, actress, Lauren London, shared some beautiful words, saying that Hussle was the absolute love of her life. She expressed how grateful she was to have “experience him,” and described all the things about him that she loved most.
Hussle exposed London to so many great adventures and teachings. He was her strength when she was weak, and her joy when she was sad and vice versa. Though the two were private about their relationship there was no hiding the love they had for one another. Lauren, much like the rest of the world, loved him for the honest person he was.
Hussle was able to take the love he learned at a young age and spread it throughout the world. He poured that love into his family, his people, his music, his business, and his community. He demonstrated for us all the importance of giving back and making something of your own. When something is crafted by your own hands it’s seen different.
Not only did he give back to his community in abundance known as “Neighborhood Nip,” he also made it his business to be an inspiration to his Eritrean brothers and sisters.
“For Eritrean Americans, Hussle became our flag bearer. He was the face of an invisible country with little representation in mainstream U.S. media — it’s constantly in the shadows of Ethiopia because of the nations’ similar cultures and traditions. He was the connective tissue that touched every Eritrean American subgroup: from the street hustlers influenced by their environments, to the social workers trying to improve their communities and the entertainers seeking to be heard.”
The passion, care, and love that spread throughout Hussle was strategically distributed while he was here. Though we lost his physical presence, his teachings are still with us. He has already inspired so many to give back, create something of their own, and to love freely and fiercely because as we know, The Marathon continues.
By Abena Bediako, University of Missouri-Columbia Alumni