We’ve all heard the saying, “The Struggle is Real,” but what does it really mean? We all experience difficulties in life; some will face more than others. The saying has slipped into our everyday culture and is often used humorously, even when it is not funny. Just as the struggle is real, so is the hustle. We recently were made aware of the tragic and untimely loss of rapper, Ermias Joseph Asghedom aka Nipsey Hussle. His hustle was very real and he used his influence, finances and resources to help those whose “struggle is real.” His violent death, at the hands of another black man, is a shame. Hussle had the first “smart” clothing store in history. Customers were able to purchase a shirt or piece of clothing with a QR Code attached to it. Once purchased and scanned, the code was activated and customers could listen to Hussle’s unreleased music on their smart phones. Although he may be gone, his message lives on.
Hussle, the “Double Up” rapper, was shot in the parking lot outside one of his businesses, Marathon Clothing. A business where he employed local people and gave them a hand up and not just a hand out. He died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso after being shot by a man named Eric Holder. A 33-year-old black man was killed by a 29-year-old black man. There’s a lot of conversation about police brutality against black people, but what about black on black crime? This is a conversation we can’t ignore.
The money from Nipsey Hussle’s clothing store was used to fund other businesses such as restaurants surrounding his own store, to renovate them and to offer healthier eating choices for the community. He was determined to make a difference. He also worked on launching a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program. He was determined to make a difference where he came from, right in the middle of Crenshaw. His program is called “Too Big To Fail.” He wanted to make sure inner-city kids had the same opportunity as Silicon Valley kids.
As I’ve continued to learn about the life of Nipsey Hussle and what he stood for, I’m just sorry that I didn’t get a chance to meet him in person. Hussle, along with Steph Curry, started a conversation around the importance of respecting mothers and grandmothers and the significance on how they will treat the women in their lives. This is so importance because if men don’t have the conversation around how to treat the women in their lives, it is difficult for women to teach girls how much they matter and how they should be valued. That’s what we teach the girls in our Forgiving For Living, Inc., Ambassador Program. They are beautiful and should be cherished, but they must believe in themselves first. I once heard someone say we teach people how to treat us. I believe it starts by loving ourselves and showing respect towards one another.
I recently read that God has intention for our pain, a cause for our struggle and a compensation for our faithfulness and that we can’t give up. Many who follow my articles know that I was close to my grandmother and that she taught me to honor my community and I will until my final breath. But we must come together and be our brother (sister’s) keeper. Starting now. Let’s honor Hussle’s legacy with a hustle of our own.
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