“Spoke some things into the universe and they appeared/I say it’s worth it, I won’t say it’s fair/Find your purpose or you wastin air.”– Nipsey Hussle, Victory Lap
Those lyrics are from Nipsey Hussle’s breakthrough Grammy Nominated Album Victory. Nipsey Hussle was gunned down March 31 outside the store he opened in the neighborhood he was raised and trying to transform. It was a life cut short due to violence. I would consider myself a casual fan of Nipsey Hussle; I was familiar with his music and would play it occasionally. What I did not know was he was more than a rapper. Nipsey Hussle was building something special. He was trying to change the narrative that surrounded rappers but specifically those with gang affiliations. Nipsey Hussle was trying to buy back the block. He was trying to build a legacy that would live beyond him. He wanted to inspire change and give people an outlet. Nipsey Hussle was approaching his Victory Lap. What his death should inspire us to do is continue to take the Victory Lap.
Nipsey Hussle was an independent artist. He chose this route instead of signing a major label deal to control and profit entirely off his work. He was ahead of his time; he used his social media influence to sell and profit off his mixtapes. In 2013, he sold his Crenshaw mixtape for $100. He made $100,000 in one day. What Nipsey was teaching us is that you have to believe in yourself if you want others to believe in you. He was desired to be an example to people undervaluing their influence.
His death, like many others, saddens me. He leaves behind family, children, and a neighborhood that was counting on him. I am saddened that it wasn’t until his death that many people, including myself, learned his story. He should have been celebrated more. He used his skills as a rapper to tell his story of gangbanging and sold records but used it and created a personal fortune. He then took that fortune and put it back into the community. He used his influence to inspire kids in the neighborhood that violence is not the answer. He invested in local schools and inspired kids to see the hope within their neighborhood. He wanted to improve his neighborhood, and he did. Now he is inspiring those to continue in the marathon to ensure that what is started last forever.
As we mourn the death of Nipsey Hussle and educate and celebrate his accomplishments, the best way we can honor him is to continue the Victory Lap. In my Victory Lap, I hope to use my platform as an educator and specifically a principal to continue the work I am doing with our school and our neighborhood. In this Victory Lap, I will remember what I have helped create Dubarry Determined. Nipsey Hussle is an inspiration he is a movement. Continue in the Victory Lap and bring others along; that is the legacy of Nipsey Hussle.
You showed us that we could not let the system hold us back. Keep pushing and watch you come through on the other side.
“This ain’t entertainment, it’s for ni**gas on the slave ship/These songs just the spirituals I swam against them waves with/Ended up on shore to their amazement.” -Nipsey Hussle, Dedication
Rest in Peace Nipsey Hussle. You may be dead and gone from this earth, but your influence and mindset will live on forever. It will not just live on in the community of Crenshaw where you lived and loved, but in the fabric of the culture that will continue your Victory Lap.