On Sunday while lying on the couch talking to my good friend Jill, breaking news came on to our Instagram that rapper Nipsey Hustle had been shot outside of his clothing store in Los Angeles. As I scrolled my feed, I saw videos of him on the ground surrounded by onlookers and paramedics trying to revive his tall, slim body. I immediately closed my phone disturbed by the image I saw. The audacity to capture that type of moment in time. The disregard for family, friends and the life force which was depleting.
Within the hour of our phone call, the news went from prayers to mourning. All I could think about was his family and children. Were they aware of the tragedy that had befallen their tribe? I prayed at that moment that they were not finding out through mindless IG scrolls. Although I did not know him, nor had I ever met him, I felt the sadness and pain of such a senseless loss.
There is a sacred theology in rap music. These philosophers paint reds and blues on canvas that vividly tell the story of Black pain and Black rage. They shed light on outward oppression and give voice to our inner depression. These Fathers, Husbands, leaders, and teachers speak for the souls of the disenfranchised, and all those who feel that God has forgotten them. They remind us through poetic song that God still hears the prayers of the Black man and woman.
When Tupac penned his sermon “So Many Tears,” in 1995, he had Nipsey Hustle in mind. Foreshadowing his preeminent death, Tupac knew that although he was baptized in eternal fire, heavens doors were still open for real G's. He reminded us that all life is sacred, and tragedy cannot be categorized based on the deceased. God has redemptive grace even after death.
This week, I am meditating on Psalms 23. In the text, we receive great comfort from God. "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." We will be tested, and we will experience a significant loss in our lives. Our hearts will break, and life will seem as though it is not worth living, but there is a protective and redemptive power in the blood of Jesus Christ. God faithfully restores, transforms and heals the land of his people.
Nipsey Hustle was taken too soon for us, but he fulfilled his divine assignment. He touched lives; he birthed children, music and healthier communities. He planted seeds of generational freedom, and they will hatch. My eternal hope is that when we all get to the end of our race, we find a peaceful rest in God’s grace. Love deeply this week.