The Marathon Continues…

It’s been 6 days. 6 days since Ermias Joseph Asghedom life was cut short. He was 33.

I did not actively listen to Nipsey’s music. I never attended a concert. But I did follow him socially. Because of what he did for the community and because of his long time love, Lauren London.

Nipsey was, and still is, more than a rapper or Hip-Hop artist. He was a pioneer, entrepreneur and community activist. A lot of people labeled him as our modern day Tupac Shakur.

I keep reliving the day he lost his life as if I was right there.

Nip found out that his friend was getting out of prison after 20 years and he wanted to get him some clothes to be fresh after being locked away.

Without thinking he just hopped in the car and headed to his store, Marathon Clothing. He didn’t think to notify his security or bodyguard. He probably thought, I am going to MY place. A place where everyone knows me. Where the community knows me. Where the people love me.

I would have thought the same thing too.

Nipsey took a picture with a young fan, sent a tweet. And then, his life was lost.

That was it. He was gone.

This happens way too often in our community. The Black Community. Violence is taking our men away from us. Fathers, Husbands, Brothers, Uncles, Cousins, Friends, Sons.

I keep thinking to myself, when are we going to stop killing each other. When are we going to stop killing because of envy, hate and jealousy. Because that is what took Nip’s life.

As a community, we have come so far in this so-called land of the free. But is it really free for people that look like me and especially for people who look like my fiance’, a Black man.

So many forces are placed upon us. It backs us into corners. It prevents us from having equal opportunities. Sometimes I feel like this place is not for us. But some will say we made it because we finally had a Black President for 8 years…

During the Obama Presidency Black culture was soaring. I remember hearing “My President is Black”, a song by Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy. I was on a high.

Then reality started hitting. Trayvon Martin was killed.

Travyon was not the first young Black man to die in America. There were hundreds and thousands before him. But this one sparked an entire movement.

When President Barack Obama appeared on National TV and said “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon” tears came from my eyes. We have never had a leader of this Nation say something like this. No one could ever feel the pain the way we did. But he did and he expressed it to the millions of people who call America home.

But then it didn’t stop. Eric Gardner, Michael Brown Jr., Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling. And those are just a FEW of the cases that caught wind in the media. There are many more.

According to a website on police violence, 30% of police shootings victims are Black. But the U.S. population of Black people is around 13%. You do the math.

No, Nipsey was not killed by the police. But when a Black Man dies from gun violence, or any type of physical force, for no reason what-so-ever. It brings up the injustice that happens to us every single day.

It brought back all the thoughts and memories of how Tamir, 12 years old, was playing with a toy gun and was shot. How Alton was selling CD’s when his life was taken. And how Nipsey was just out here trying to make sure his homie was fresh when he got out of jail.

And then there is Lauren London. His love for the past 5+ years. The mother of his son Kross. His best friend. Their visible love connection made everything even harder to understand and accept.

If you followed either one of them on social media you can just see their love through images and videos. They were that Hollywood couple who portrayed that type of Black Love that you wanted. He was a man who wasn’t afraid to show his woman public love and affection and she was the woman who was always right by his side every step of the way.

So when I woke up on Monday, April 1st. And my fiance’ said “Wait, Nipsey died?” My first words were “Noooooo…Lauren!”. Because I knew she was crushed. Devastated. Lost. Empty.

Of course anyone who loses someone they love deeply will be extremely torn. But this felt different. And we hadn’t really seen this happen in our community in a very long time. A famous Black couple being torn a part unexpectedly due to violence. I actually can’t think of any outside of the assassinations we endured in the 60s with MLK & Malcom X.

I cannot even begin to think about what life is like for Lauren and her children right now. She summed it up in her Instagram post.

Ever since this has happened, I have been extra close to Julian. Making sure that we get to see another day with each other. Staring at him for a moment longer than I usually do. Hugging him tighter.

And it’s the same feeling across Black America. Mothers, Wives, Girlfriends and Sisters are paying close attention to the Black Men in their lives because its so hard for them out here.

When I saw this image circling around social media, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Because this is what I live with almost every day. The anxiety that he could be mistaken for someone. Walk into the wrong establishment. Get pulled over. And then he is gone.

Lauren lost the love of her life and now she has to pick up the pieces and learn how to move forward. It’s not easy, but she will preserve and make it. The love and support she has been getting from her family, friends and complete strangers like me is amazing.

I will remember Nipsey for the amazing things he has and was doing for Black America.

USA Today wrote an amazing article titled Why losing Nipsey Hussle hurts so badly. It talks about the co-working and STEM center he opened up. The strides he made to connect and unite the gangs in LA. But this part hit me…

When there’s a prominent black leader trying and succeeding in making change, they die. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Fred Hampton and Tupac, to name a few. That’s exactly why black people around the country waited to exhale as former President Barack Obama got sworn in in 2008 – we were scared he, too, would be killed

This was hard. This is still hard. But his memory and legacy will live on. His message will live on. His fight will live on. We will make sure of that.

And because I loved him and Lauren together so much, here are a few of my favorite pictures of them together.

Lauren you have gained an angel. He still will never leave your side.

We love you Nip!