Let's change the way we eat/ Let's change the way we live/ And let's change the way we treat each other/ You see the old way wasn't workin'/ So it's on us to do what we gotta do to survive. —Tupac Shakur
A West Coast legend is laid to rest today. Nipsey Hussle likely called it a “marathon” because a race isn’t meant to be won as much as it’s meant to be endured. For the Crenshaw native, the real victory lap is in the legacy he leaves behind, which is one of adding on and paying it forward.
When the dust of Nipsey’s memorial service is settled, some will continue to celebrate his life. Others will have to mourn him first. But all of us are privileged with the response-ability to keep going, if only by staggering onward.
The very best that we can do to keep Nipsey’s memory alive as a community is to take his baton and continue our respective marathons for the greater good.
A Grammy-nominated rapper and staunch proponent of long-term investment and career development, Nipsey left behind an esteemed blueprint for Black entrepreneurship. Here are five ways to do our part, big or small, to keep Nipsey Hussle’s legacy alive.
Service Your Community
Given that time is perhaps our greatest currency, making yourself available to the expansion or development of your community, or an institution that promotes and supports the education and livelihood of our own, is inarguably one of the greatest ways to be of service to others. Volunteering at places like the YMCA is an excellent way to begin.
Each One Teach One
"Each one teach one" is a Black school of thought that came out of the era of slavery. It meant that if one enslaved person knew or learned to read and write, it was therefore his or her responsibility to pass on that knowledge. Mentorship is perhaps one of the greatest and most invaluable ways of reinvesting in our community, because it helps to ensure that our youth are equipped with the necessary tools to rise above and realize their dreams.
VolunteerMatch.org is one of the largest networks that connects millions to mentoring opportunities, pro bono work, and community services in neighborhoods around the country. TED.com published a useful article on the different kinds of mentors you can seek or, in this case, become.
Invest in Black, Brown Businesses
In white communities, the dollar circulates for 17 days. In Black communities, it circulates for six hours. If nowhere else, here's where you can help make a dent: by spending your hard-earned money at businesses owned by people of color, particularly Black-owned enterprises.
The Official Black Wall Street app is the largest #BlackOwned business discovery app. Get acquainted. (Nipsey was also introduced by a friend to The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing, which helped him bone up on lessons that adhere to entrepreneurship.)
Buy Back the Block
“I believe that economics is based on scarcity of markets,” Nipsey told Forbes in an interview that briefly talks about Opportunity Zones, or neighborhoods that adhere to the Opportunity Zone program, which was created to revitalize economically distressed communities using private investments rather than taxpayer dollars.
To learn about just one of the ways to reinvest in and help expand your four-block radius, visit here.
Support Nipsey’s Family
If nothing else, you can at least help keep Nipsey's legacy alive by supporting the very businesses he created outside of his music career. Spending at Marathon Clothing will support his family. Supporting and/or volunteering at Vector 90, the co-working space and STEM center he helped found, will support both his family and extensions of our community. And finally, streaming his music, purchasing from his catalog, will also support his family, as Nipsey ensured the rights to his masters before his untimely demise.
BONUS: Love. Nipsey taught us that loving one another, loving who we are as a people, as a community, as life partners and one another's teachers and proverbial saviors, is liable to create a lasting ripple effect and move a nation.