Rapper and Philanthropist Nipsey Hussle: A Reflection of His Life’s Journey

Nipsey Hussle: A rapper, entrepreneur, community activist, father, and a source of inspiration.

Hey good people. Ralph here. After completing my workday at my freelance gig, I hopped on the A-train to travel up to Harlem. I stuck my headphones in my ears and selected my own curated list of favorite hip hop tracks. I hit the shuffle button on my trusty iPhone XR and ironically, the first song that came on was Nipsey Hussle’s “The Weather (feat. Rick Ross & Cuzzy Capone),” from the 2013 Album, “Crenshaw.” As I sat there on the train, listening closely and intently to the lyrics of the song, my eyes began to water. I repeatedly kept asking myself, “when will this shit stop?” It made me think of friends I grew up with and people that I personally knew, who’s lives were tragically lost due to bruised egos and unsettled beefs.

Once the train pulled into the 125th street train station, I got off and regathered myself, and waited for another train to approach before getting on to go a little further up in Harlem. I walked up to my local barbershop, and again, my eyes welled up again. Peering through the entrance of the shop, I saw friends and old street basketball rivals that I haven’t seen in years. I immediately felt a combination of brotherly love and pride; yet, I had a watchful eye. Why the tragic deaths of great black men seemed to be caused by the hands of those individuals we keep close to us? It doesn’t even have to be a family member, a friend or a coworker; it can be someone that lives down the block from you. That particular person can find something on you to be completely jealous or envious about, which will be used to fuel their blind rage or hatred towards you. The end result of this usually resorts to fighting or bloodshed.

Photo Credit: Jorge Peniche

I can’t speak for all black communities, but there seems to be a void of hopelessness and all-around lack of love and respect. Why is this so? The question brings me to the tragic shooting of Ermias Joseph Asghedom, known in the hip hop world as Nipsey Hussle. More than just a Grammy-nominated rapper Crenshaw, who had ties to the Rollin’ 60’s Neighborhood Crips, Nipsey was a son, father, brother, partner, rapper, songwriter, business owner, philanthropist and community leader. He was also a man trying to give back, and as evident, he inspired a multitude of people.

Photo Credit: Rozette Rago For The New York Times

Tragedy came swift and sudden. Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot outside of his own store, Marathon Clothing, this past Sunday, March 31, 2019. The suspect—Eric Holder, was apprehended and arrested by Los Angeles police on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, is being held in solitary confinement on more than $7 million bond, the LAPD reports. There’s been a number of conspiracy theories surrounding Nipsey Hussle’s death. Arguably, the most talked about conspiracy involved Nipsey releasing a documentary on Honduran herbalist and self-proclaimed healer, Dr. Sebi, exposing pharmaceutical companies. The other conspiracy—perhaps being more realistically accepted, was basically rooted in a personal vendetta.

I pray that this post will find the eyes, the hearts and minds of many. Not for the sake of personal gain or satisfaction; but for the simple fact that many of my brothers are dying over nonsense in the streets. It’s almost as if it was a bad horror movie that’s stuck on an endless loop that we’re forced to watch. Nipsey changed his life for the better and tirelessly focused on doing positive things for his family, friends and community. He got out of his own way, followed a path, and dared to be great. His life was cut short in doing so. How do we break this cycle of decimation? Do many of you share the same sentiment as I do? Nipsey’s death was not only a lost for hip hop, but for humanity as well.

“I understand my obligation – I got an obligation to my community first, my family first, to hoods like L.A. all around the country who live for the culture,” he wrote for The Player’s Tribune in 2018. “That’s part of the game, the way I see it. I have a duty to justify the seat that I’m sitting in. Nobody has any success on his own.”

Rest in power forever, Nip.

To my readers, I invite you to join me on Facebook and to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. You can also reach me via email at: rgilmore@orangemoonwerks.com. If you find any joy and value in what I do, would you consider providing support to help keep my blog going? Learn how by clicking the link here: Support the Blog


Brooklyn’s BAM Black Comix Expo Celebrates Comics Diversity

You have any fun plans to hang in Brooklyn, NYC this weekend? If so, be sure to stop by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) on Sunday, February 10, 2019 and check out the second annual Black Comix Expo at BAM. The event that begins at 11am, is a celebration of comic book artists, comic book writers, illustrators, cosplayers and black superheroes. The expo, which is co-presented by BAM and The Black Comics Collective, bring fans of comic books, graphic novels, comic art and sci-fi enthusiasts a day filled with panel discussions, workshops, cosplay and more, with the intent on promoting diverse new talent and representation within the comics industry. The event is free and open to all ages, but be sure to arrive early because gaining entry is first come, first serve.

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NYFW 2019: A Quick Perspective On New York Fashion Week

Hey good people, Perennial Aesthete here! It’s that time of year again in NYC. Happy New York Fashion Week! Since its inception in 1942, New York Fashion Week (NYFW) has been one of the largest events in the world that showcase the fashion collection of designers from all over the world. Along with shows in Milan, Paris and London, it’s a mainstay of the “Big 4,” where industry titans like Givenchy, Prada, Chanel and Burberry unveil high-end, prestigious collections at the illustrious semi-annual event (February and September) which each time around, it’s the hottest ticket in NYC.

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Black History Month: If You Could Meet Any Historical Black Figure Today, Who Would It Be?

The Perennial Aesthete

This was tough for me to come up with a selected number of black prominent figures in the course of history, pioneers and ground breakers, who not only had a positive influence on the black community, but as well as the rest of the world.  Even as an African-American sits in powerful positions at more than any other time during the history of our nation, we have to ask ourselves, are we still in a crisis?

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MLK Day 2019: 15 Unforgettable Full-Color Pictures of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Perennial Aesthete

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Even though we’ve made great strides history when it comes to completely abolishing racism, bigotry, and YES, slavery—which unbelievably continues to exist in this day and age, there’s insurmountable evidence that we have so much work left to do. I want to thank you Dr. King for your dedication and sacrifice to help humanity continue to rise and inspire the next generation of people for the greater good. It is truly up to us to set an example as greatly as possible so that our children won’t be lost.

In honor of MLK Day, I took some time and effort to share some of my favorite full-color photos of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in hopes…

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The Schomburg Center’s 7th Annual Black Comic Book Festival: Best Photos

What’s up blerds?! Ralph “The Perennial Aesthete” Gilmore is here. Another exciting year has come to a close as The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York City, invited comic book fans of all ages to participate in it’s 7th Annual Black Comic Book Festival (Official Hashtag: #BlackComicBookFestNYC.) The festival was held on Friday, January 18 from 12 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, January 19 from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., in which both days was free and completely opened to the public.

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‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Is A Stark Reminder To Protect Our Young Black Girls

I believe that there are three sides to every story; there’s one side, there’s the opposite side and there’s the side that God only knows. After watching the Lifetime documentary, ‘Surviving R. Kelly,” it’s crystal clear to me that we have failed our black girls and black women. At first I was hesitant on watching the docu-series, but I ended up doing so. As a result of that, I found it appalling, shocking, confusing and grew even more concerned about the grim reality of today’s society. When it comes to subject matter such as this, it’s important that we use the power that we have in the creativity we possess. Whether it’s through my skills as an artist, writer or designer, I aim to consistently take full advantage of my talents to either inspire someone, spark positive conversations or help someone with the knowledge that I have.

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Ralph Gilmore: Father, Artist and ‘Mayor of Harlem’ (Circa 1/6/15)

Everyone loves a bit of nostalgia from time to time. I think at this point, most of us are aware of a widely used acronym on social media called, “TBT,” which stands for Throwback Thursday. Throwback Thursday is the name of a weekly social media posting trend or popularized hashtag that people from all over the world use online—specifically on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, to share and look back fondly on some of their favorite memories—hence the “throwback” theme. With that being said, I want to share a proud moment of mine in which an article was written about me in the oldest Black newspaper in the country, The New York Amsterdam News.

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Happy New Year 2019! New Aspirations. New Promises. Rekindled Hopes.

As I say goodbye to 2018, a year that has taught me so much through both pain and gratitude, I’m reflecting on this humbling moment in remembrance of family and close friends who’s physical presence are no longer among us. I desperately say to you all that we have to find a way to be swift to forgive, to love abundantly, pursue your passions relentlessly and to create bravely.

Continue reading “Happy New Year 2019! New Aspirations. New Promises. Rekindled Hopes.”

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