Tragedy struck the hip-hop world a month ago when Los Angeles-based rapper Ermias Joseph Asghedom, better known as Nipsey Hussle, was murdered outside his clothing store in the southern part of the city on March 31.
This news was not only tragic, but heartbreaking for the South LA community and close friends and family from the industry that Hussle worked with. He was an amazing artist and a great role model for the black community, donating to schools in the area, advocating for STEM among black kids and addressing gun violence with the LAPD, according to the Huffington Post.
This showed Hussle’s growth from being a member of the Rollin 60s, an LA gang that is connected to the Crips, and having a violent past, to becoming a community activist and using his platform to positively influence underprivileged groups, according to Vox. Having a role model like this is important for the black community. In this day and age, the industry tends to promote controversial artists, with the glamourization of drugs and other stereotypical characteristics of a rapper lifestyle.
Furthermore, it is important to remember not only Hussle’s philanthropism, but also the message he expressed in his music. A major focus on his life after his success as a rapper was on using his brand and popularity as an artist to give black men hope to “escape” a life of struggle.
Hussle was also outspoken politically: he rapped a verse on YG’s song “FDT,” where the two rappers criticize President Donald Trump for his racist policies and arrogance with regards to the black community.
It is important to not erase this part of Hussle’s legacy, particularly in a time when celebrities often come under scrutiny for espousing a point of view on current events. It is also worth noting the significance of Hussle and YG, former members of the rival gangs the Crips and the Bloods, being able to come together and speak about issues that affect their communities without getting violent.