It is the first day of the new month and I have been feeling down since the news broke last night that Nipsey Hussle was gunned down. This will be a different type of post for 3TheChicWay, but I didn’t know where else to turn to release all of my mixed-up emotions.
Here’s the thing. I grew up in the projects of Coney Island Brooklyn. I lived in that building from age 10 until I was 22. It was something I was ashamed of, the pissy elevators, drug paraphernalia on the floor, the people in front of the building all day, the graffiti-filled walls and staircases. These buildings are high-rise, up to 16 floors, imagine how many people live in one building. A bunch of minorities clustered together because of their financial situation, who wake up every day to an environment that doesn’t inspire hope. I never enjoyed having company, and having to explain the elevators, etc. to friends. But on the other hand, there are so many people who pass the apartment down from generation to generation. The legacy is deep-rooted in the impoverished conditions of the projects. Are there people who are proud to rep their building? Yes.
But we love a success story right? We love to say we started from the bottom and now we made it. It’s inspiring when someone from the same impoverished circumstances that are sometimes stacked so high, you feel like the walls are closing in on you, gets out. But when we make it out? Are we obligated to come back to “the hood”? A majority of people will be happy for you, but there will, of course, be a few who will hold resentment. They will be mad it was you and not them. They are still there, and here you come with all your success trying to show us what?
Maybe it’s time we switch up the narrative. Let’s stop glorifying the wrong images to the kids. Why can’t being smart be cool? Why can’t we glorify scientists, engineers, photography and the arts, etc? We as a people are the strongest because of our ability to deal with so much. But it is time to release some of the trauma we have been carrying with us from generation to generation. What if we can teach kids that hard work at an honest job can be equally as rewarding. That there is more to life than the four corners of the block they reside. Because let’s be honest, we don’t own shit in the hood. You don’t own the block, the corner, nothing in the hood is yours. We have to rise above the mentality that we belong there. Why don’t we feel like we deserve more? We must break free of the chains that are holding our minds captive to what they think we deserve.
We must rise up. I know it’s easier said than done. But if we come together as a people collectively to step into our greatness, we can accomplish so much. Here’s a thought. We need to stop equating wealth and status with jewelry, designer clothes, cars, and material things. We have to funnel our money into stocks, investments, savings for the kids, property, etc. Things that will double up and can be left behind for generations to come. What hurts the most was the fact that Nipsey was doing all this, in the hood he loves so much, and that’s where they took his life. We have to value each our lives more. A family is now broken because of a senseless act of violence. And guess what, it is happening every day in neighborhoods all across the world.
If anything I am motivated to show the boys the world. Open their minds to more experiences that will broaden their horizons and hopefully I can create something that will leave a legacy behind for them and the generations after. I want our neighborhoods to be filled with so much love and peace. I want us to uplift each other. I want us to support each other’s endeavors. I want us to hug each other more. Speak life over each other. Speak love onto each other. We have to start with us a community within the little sectors we occupy. Then we can spread this movement all across the world.
I am not naive to the fact that gangs exist and the reasons why many young men feel the need to join them. But what I will say is this, with all the influences gangs have in the hood, they can come together now and invoke serious change on the street level. There is no need to retaliate and have more murders pile up and adding to the prison system, and more families fall apart. The leaders of these gangs can really now forge an alliance to help foster a new image in the community.