Black Student Union remembers Nipsey Hussle

BU discusses impact of rapper's life

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The Black Student Union commemorated the life of rapper Nipsey Hussle on Wednesday.

Roughly 30 students attended BSU’s event at 5 p.m. on April 10 to honor the rapper, whom Eric Holder fatally shot on March 31. Hussle was gifting clothes to a friend recently released from prison when Holder shot him six times, according to Nonprofit Quarterly. Hussle left behind three children, an older brother, a girlfriend and a mother. BSU held the event to give students the opportunity to mourn Hussle’s death and honor his involvement in his community.

“I thought it appropriate, just in the wake of his passing, that we give people some time to talk about it, grieve a little and then just talk about the issues surrounding it,” said BSU Vice President Daniel Edwards.  

Hussle was deeply involved in his community, according to Nonprofit Quarterly. He bought a shopping plaza and employed immigrants and people who were struggling on the streets. Hussle’s community knew him as “Neighborhood Nip” and as a man of many investments. According to Forbes, Hussle was working on affordable housing plans for those in South Los Angeles and made sure basketball courts were paved for children to play on. Through Vector 90, an inner city coworking community, he also made sure youth were able to find jobs.

“[Hussle] is a family man, businessman, philanthropist,” Edwards, a junior exercise science major, said. “He’s an overall community man, he really looked out for his people and people that looked like him and tried to put those people in the best position possible.” 

Rebekah McCullough*, a junior English major, said Hussle’s death is not an uncommon experience in the black community.

“I just feel like in the society we live in today, when you’re an up-and-coming African American male, you know, you have to watch your back,” McCullough said. “The fact of the matter is, in history, you have people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X trying to spread a greater message and then they suddenly die.”

Hussle’s music sales have increased by 2,776% after his death, according to Billboard

But Kalilou Fofana, a member of Black Men United, said people were already “in tune” with Hussle’s music.

“He didn’t have to die in order for his music to resonate with the people,” Fofana, a junior psychology major, said. “When I went to L.A. during spring break, when I went to the clubs, Nipsey was being played. Everyone was in tune.”

Hussle’s ambition attracted attention in 2013 when he sold his Crenshaw album for $100, despite it being free online. Jay-Z bought 100 copies of the album, which earned Hussle $10,000, according to The New York Times.

“If you can sell a hundred dollar mixtape compared to artists that don’t even sell theirs for $10. He never sold himself short,” Fofana said. “He hit every benchmark of his music career in terms of owning his own music –– having no record labels, no promotions.” 

The Grammy-nominated rapper had seemingly foreseen his death. In his 2016 song “Ocean Views,” Hussle describes how he wants to be remembered. He raps about gang affiliation and how he will die with money, but none of that matters compared to the impact he will leave. 

Hussle tweeted “Having strong enemies is a blessing,” just hours before his death.

“It sucks when we’re trying to broadcast a greater message and that distinguished speaker that’s saying everything that’s on our minds just disappears. Unfortunately this person happened to be Nipsey Hussle,” said McCollough. “He was an upcoming rap artist but he used his platform to talk about and shed light upon greater things such as poverty in black communities.”

Hussle’s death resonated across the nation, with celebrities and political officials such as the Mayor of Los Angeles, Rihanna, Lauren London and Snoop Dogg expressing their condolences.

 “His music means hope,” McCollough said. “His music is telling stories. He’s telling me there is that lifestyle where sex, drugs and money are there, but there’s also this lifestyle that you have a greater purpose, you can branch out and brand yourself. You can be greater in this society. It gives hope for people like me who were raised in the hood.”

*Rebekah McCullough is a sports writer for The Spectrum who attended the event.

Alexandra Moyen is an assistant news editor and can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com