Within the last few weeks, we’ve seen a brother, son, father, husband, friend, and leader — Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom — murdered, and all of the antics that have followed his untimely death. Many have become desensitized, lacking empathy, respect, our sense of humanity.
I cannot shake all of the images and video clips that flooded our social media feeds, and were blasted across the media platforms that we’ve instilled trust in as a positive and empowering representation of Black culture. All that we’ve witnessed play out on social media recently, and countless times in the past, have truly made many question: “what happened to integrity?”
1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
Self-reflection is necessary when we’ve become dumbed down by what see in the media and addicted to validation from anyone outside of ourselves and God, or whatever higher power you may worship. Self-reflection is necessary when we cannot find the decency to show love and appreciation to something or someone, without simultaneously downplaying or disrespecting something or someone else. Self-reflection is necessary when we find ourselves turning death, pain and trauma into an opportunity to capitalize off of — selling merchandise and memorabilia not intended to be sold — or an opportunity to go viral and build up a following by posting disingenuous content that is timely and appeals to those deeply hurt by a thing. Self-reflection is necessary when we’ve ignored the cries of women on countless occasions, and only decide to halt our support of a person when they happen to disrespect someone we are deeply in favor of. Self-reflection is necessary when we continue to give attention to and feed into the very foolishness, blatant stupidity and disrespect that is destroying and disintegrating our communities.
Have we gotten so lost in this matrix that is social media, that we have lost our integrity? We have got to be more righteous in the way that we carry ourselves — righteousness must be reflected in our daily decisions and movements. Stop selling yourselves for likes, retweets, and followers, “clout” that will not stand the test of time. Tap into yourselves and get your minds in order, for disrespecting your people is essentially disrespecting yourself — we are a reflection of each other.
Marvin Gaye asked, “what’s going on?” He passed away April 1st, the day after our beloved Ermias, in 1984, and we still cannot effectively answer that question a little over 3 decades later.
We need to take this moment and never stop building upon it — continue to grow together, continue to become a more unified people. The unity that we’ve seen flourish within our community recently is truly beautiful, inspiring, and empowering. It should not have taken the death of this man for us to see the value in togetherness, the value in our Blackness and culture. You should see yourself in your Black peers, always.
We need to guide our children, guide our women, and guide our men. Take each other in. Show each other love; we need one another. Souls are lost and in need of leaders, in need of their friends more importantly, to speak life into them.
Your character is your most valuable asset, and you cannot put a price on integrity. Our integrity is not for sale, let our actions reflect that.
Editorial featured on Can't Buy Respect.