California Love: Coming To Grips With Ourselves

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 01: (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

What makes us feel for people we’ve never met? What makes our hearts ache in partnered pain with people whose stories we only know the highlights of? These are only some of the questions I’ve been asking myself since the untimely passing of Ermias Ashgedom, lovingly known by the world as Nipsey Hussle.

I’ve never met Ermias, nor am I familiar with most of his music…but I do know his community work and passion. For a week, my heart has been heavy as my mind raced to make sense of many things. At the forefront, now, like many others that have never met this man, are my feelings.

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 11 (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

In 1996 I was 8 years old sitting in front of the television, in my Bay Area home, when the news anchor announced that Tupac has been shot. I sat in front of the TV for days to come as the life expectancy percentages dwindled down. I hoped and prayed for them to go up every night, and every night, my heart sank lower into my chest as I saw my fave slipping through the bounds of this life.

On March 31, 2019, I was that 8-year-old girl, again. I waited with bated breath while news outlets kept us updated via social media. Another pronouncement of death, another heartbreak, another man I’d never met, and yet…I know him.

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 22: (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for PUMA)

I know him. The way he thinks and talks reminds me of my brothers. The way he smiles and lights up a room reminds me of my dear. The way he brought people together for