Many years ago, I had the great fortune to spend some time with a woman whose stories and lessons were lifted from her own family history in Liberia, West Africa. One in particular stuck with me. It was about a boy whose name was difficult to pronounce and it aggrieved him so when he was called on in class, because his name was always misprounced. One day, he came home and told his mother that he wasn’t going to go back to school because they didn’t even know his name. She responded, “When you are great, they will know your name.” That little boy studied hard and was awarded one of the school’s top honors, and when his name was spoken into the microphone, and echoed through the halls, it was indeed pronounced correctly.
Nipsey Hussle. I had never even heard his name until the day he was shot. When I heard about his death, I thought it was sad. When I learned about his life, I thought it was tragic. And one of the greatest ironies yet to be unraveled is that the actor who will play Hussle in the biopic, will earn more accolades and honors perhaps than the man himself. It’s the paradox of our culture, to recognize the greatest of people who, well, don’t really do anything, not like the people they play. It’s time for a new kind of honor, televised, red carpets, swag bags, all of the above. It would celebrate the person, his or her life’s work, living or dead, and it should be as spectactular as the Academy Awards, and to honor his short and spectacular life, we should call the award, Nipsey, instead of Oscar.
Pitch it to a network. I’d watch. More importantly, though, make sure you tell your friends and family about this incredible man who never left his neighborhood and did what he could to make it safe and prosperous. I can’t help think of the man he could have been and the people he could have changed had it not been for that twist of fate, that momentary stop at his store to give a friend who had just been released from prison, clothes to help him start brand new.
Snoop dog delivered a beautiful eulogy. Take a listen below.