On Sunday, March 31 the death of Hip-Hop’s very own Nipsey Hussle sent emotional shock waves across the community. Immediately after the news dropped, almost everyone (celebrities, news outlets, fans across the world) ran to social media to mourn the tragic loss. Within minutes, the internet was inundated with news reports, conspiracy theories, fans paying homage, and even videos of Nipsey’s final moments surfaced.
I felt intense emotions of the tragic news. Even while I have never been fortunate enough to have met Nipsey, his passing felt very personal. Initially, I felt subconscious as I found myself experiencing feelings of grief for someone I did not know. I was conflicted about feeling angry, sad, lost, shocked, irritable, speechless about the news of Nipsey.
With grief, there are a lot of reasons but no clear rules on how to feel. How could I feel this devastated for a person I never met? I battled whether it was silly to grieve the loss of a celebrity.
The truth is: We didn’t know Nipsey but we knew Nipsey!
You might have discovered Nipsey at the very beginning of his career or been one of the latecomers like me. Either way, one thing we share is the connection to Nipsey. We watched him establish a career, build a family, adorn his wife, refine his ideas and pass on such valuable principals. He reminded us a lot about ourselves. He was there for many memories in our lives that we hold near and dear. He was there to comfort us with his music and overflow us with his inspirational messages. He influenced us to change the narrative and master your energy. And for those many reasons, I had to remind myself it is OKAY to grieve the loss of Nipsey.
If you are in a similar space and are questioning what to do now, here are 6 helpful tips for coping:
1. Give yourself permission to grieve.
Feeling intense emotions when someone passes away is common. You do not have to know Nipsey personally to feel the effects of his death. Do not let losing someone you admire but never met physically undermine the feelings and emotions you are currently feeling. Try not to suppress how you feel, instead acknowledge it. Express it. Talk to someone you trust. Do not be afraid to get creative in your self-expression (paint, write, draw, dance and etc).
2. Limit the time spent on your phone.
It is hard to pass three Instagram posts without mention of Nipsey. The constant exposure can be overwhelming which makes it difficult to shake from the tough emotions. Try to limit yourself to about 10-15 minutes on social media or tracking updates on the case. Refrain from watching videos of the incident or reading conspiracy theories. Allow yourself time within an uninterrupted space to grieve. In doing so, you will minimize your anxiety (triggers) and have a moment to address your feelings and formulate your own thoughts. Turn off notifications or silence your phone that way you are not constantly being pulled back to your phone.
If it does not disrupt your day, try increasing the time spent off your phone or turning your phone off completely.
3. Spend time with friends and family.
Love on the individuals closest to you. There is nothing like spending quality time with others to serve as a reminder of what is most important. Do not ignore the next invite from a friend for dinner. Call the friend that you’ve been telling yourself you would call for a couple of weeks now. Check in on your brother, male best friend, or significant other to embrace them with love and positive energy. They need it too.
4. Increase your daily self-care regiment.
Give yourself an hour at the start and/or the end of your day to better yourself. Be sure that the time you select is deliberate and self-initiated. Simple self-care habits like stretching, 5 minutes of deep breathing, physical exercise, watching your favorite television show, lighting incenses or candles, listening to music, and/or spending some time alone can produce positive energy and be the ultimate way to relax.
5. Listen to his music.
If you feel up for it, identify your top 10 Nipsey songs and play it on your way to work or class.
6. Finish what he started.
Nipsey was loved for pouring wholeheartedly into his community. He inspired us to live a purposeful life. He challenged us to rethink our life plan. To get started. Start that business plan. Educate yourself on entrepreneurship and financial power. Give back. Dedicate a day to volunteer at a local school. Become a mentor to a teenager. Although he may not be physically here with us, we shall uphold his legacy.
“But I don’t wipe ‘em though. We just embrace the only life we know. If it was me, I would tell you, “Nigga, live your life and grow”. I’d tell you, “Finish what we started, reach the heights, you know?” – Nipsey Hussle