The untimely murder of Nipsey Hussle, birth name, Ermias Asghedom transformed me. From shock to anger to grief to sadness to purpose—all these mark the stages that end with this impromptu major collaborative project, The Nipsey Hussle Edition.
Nine contributors, many of whom I have been speaking with since March 31, wanted to put together a digital archive from a lens that tells a rich narrative about Nipsey, a young, antiquated soul who was complex, generous, innovative and rare.
In this edition, we have three commentaries, a photo art story, two videos and three reported pieces from the Ark news desk. Our think pieces are from two Los Angeles natives who moved from the city years ago. Through honest accounts, they explore their thoughts of being away from home. In striking similarity, Kemit Qutob and Rolanda West emphasize that after many years and miles distancing them from their childhood in LA, has not removed the trauma and pain they experience when hearing a tragedy like Nip. For them, their emotions seemed to have picked up where they left them to cool, years ago.
On the other hand, the social media timelines of Charles Moss who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, prompted him to look into Nip. Like millions of people, Moss learned about the prolific artist, activist, business person and philanthropist after his demise; however, he is a fan, but more for the work he does outside of music.
In the video piece by Dame Crawford, he gives us an overview of the mood of the city after Nip’s funeral services on Thursday and touches on the work Nip carried out in his beloved Crenshaw District. Then in an Ark Republic interview with attorney Jaaye Person-Lynn, we find out more of the extraordinary work Nip did and the exhausting list of people he helped.
To provide a visual understanding of the public art and ad hoc altars and shrines that have turned Los Angeles into a citywide shrine dedicated to elevating Nip’s spirit, Matito Ki’Abayomi photographs memorial sites in different neighborhoods.
Another dimension to this major collaborative project is the digital installation by Brooklynite, Benedict Hadley, who masterfully created five images of Nip in a flow that shows him becoming ethereal. Hadley uses moments when Nip’s music was the soundtrack of his life to show how they both evolved into their divine purpose. We paired Hadley’s work with writings to show the ascension and to give another angle into how dope we see Nip.
For our generation, Nip was simultaneously, a supernova and a falling star. However, in his passing, he became our big dipper, the drinking gourd or northern shine in the night sky providing a map for us to think, move and exist on a higher plane.
In truth, the Nipsey Hussle edition for all of us is our therapy to cull old scars, new wounds and heartache both passed down and lived in this lifetime. We want to all do better, and are learning in lifting him up as an ancestor. Saying that still bugs me out.
On Thursday, Los Angeles became a shrine, an altar to Nip. In ancient rituals, the people defined their superheroes and saints. What we the people are doing is creating our own own divine, and one who mirrors us, in our image. That is powerful and sacred. So, here is our part.
Kaia Niambi Shivers. Ark Republic founder