On March 31, 2019 we lost Ermias Asghedom by gunshot wounds that were fired by a gang member that was a part of the Rollin 60 Crips, one of the biggest gangs from Los Angeles. He was aligned to release a documentary in honor of Dr. Sebi to teach the community about holistic healing while also expanding his creative designing skills with a collaboration with Puma.
I remember waking up two years ago in my apartment and hearing about the news from a friend who sent me a post on Instagram. It was the type of message that you read over and over again in disbelief before you can muster up a response. My heart immediately dropped because I didn't want to believe that he was shot in his own neighborhood outside of his store The Marathon Clothing Store. I’m not one to normally cry when a celebrity is killed but on that day I found myself being empathetic to his family and children. I have lived in the Crenshaw District for roughly five years and watched the evolution of the city shift and fight off gentrification. Nipsey was a beacon of light for the community and taught the younger generations the smart way to hustle without being involved in gangs. Vector 90 was a coworking space he created with David Ross in South Los Angeles that allowed members to have access to offices, refreshments, and networking events to help them expand their businesses and have a safe space to work.
I regret not signing up for that space before Covid-19 hit because it would have been beneficial considering I was beginning to expand my photography business at the time. But as Nispey’s famous mantra goes ‘ The Marathon continues’ so despite the fact that we are hindered from doing some things I won’t stop working towards my goals and manifesting the reality I desire. I started this blog so that I can not only express myself but share images I have taken throughout years as well as in the present.
As I looked through pictures from my photojournal I remember the emotions that washed over me in May as I was documenting the community and fans gathering around Crenshaw and Slauson to pay homage to Nipsey the Great. I initially wanted to go up to the store the day after he passed by. Thankfully I was busy working because in the midst of the crowd someone started shooting and a knife was also seen leaving multiple people wounded. I’m not even going to elaborate on the unnecessary harassment that the Los Angeles Police Department was a part of by guarding the Shell off Crenshaw and Slauson and also surrounding areas near the store.
I found my way up to the store and waited in line by Fatburger to pay my respects three days after he was killed. Despite the fact that he was murdered or as some believe assassinated, the energy in the air was a mixture of unity and uncertainty. We didn't know what was to come of his passing but all races, ages, and even gang members came out to pay respect. Weed smoke filled the air, his music was blasting from speakers in all directions, and there were vigils being set up for us to leave candles. It was as if a block party and memorial service collaborated with the structure if I were to describe the scene visually for you. Some people were crying and drinking or smoking away their emotions while others began to twerk and shout out to any passer byers to not remain sad. I’ve never seen so many people coexisting in the same space without a fight breaking out or drama arising. The city and so many others that flew in from across the country wanted to pay homage to a King who not only shifted Crenshaw District for the better but left a legacy behind that can't be unmatched. I pray that Lauren London, his kids, family, and team will find peace and comfort despite the grief and pain they carry. Stay tuned for part two of this blog post.