The tragic loss of Nipsey Hussle sparked a dangerous narrative on social media and black radio this week about black flight. There’s a video floating around the web targeting up and coming artists saying the inner-city don’t love you and that the city is based on hate and worship. Though the person never said get your money, get out, and don’t look back, the tone said exactly that.
Jealousy and envy are not relegated to a particular zip code. A black person driving a Benz in America is equally at risk for being pulled over by police in the burbs or pulled up on by a fool at a city gas station. People can catch you slippin’ while you smoke, or you can have authorities called when the neighbors think you’re selling dope. The truth is, as long as there are huge disparities in the distribution of wealth, the risk remains whether your zip code is 90210 or 48219.
Nipsey Hussle lead by example by not only owning the block, but employing the very people who had been locked out of the workforce. People who were once at risk of turning back to a life of crime, just to get by, were given an opportunity to change their circumstances. With projects in the pipeline to teach young black kids how to code, Nip was a real American Hero. He was cut down in his prime and though all kinds of theories remain, we may never know why.
When black birds fly alone they are vulnerable from all sides. The flock is robbed of protection, guidance, leadership and community. Thriving black businesses didn’t shutter solely due to eminent domain, many closed because we thought the white ice was colder. We pulled money from businesses that treated us like family to spend it with folks who poured coffee in our laps. There’s an episode of The Fresh Prince were Aunt Viv says to Uncle Phil (we’re paraphrasing) You’re so busy trying to give them what you never had that you forgot to give them what you did have.
In the end when Los Angeles said goodbye to Nipsey Hussle they returned the love with a parking lot full of tributes, a march where bloods and crips walked hand in hand, with unity powerful enough to transform an entire generation. Our communities will never be defined by rogue individuals who leave destruction in their wake. We will be defined by the hardwork, the sacrifices, the unity and the love. Hope to see you at the next barbecue! #themarathoncontinues
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