It never fails. At the beginning of every year, I say the same thing to one of my closest girlfriends—"I know some people are gonna leave us this year, but I'm never prepared for who." Y'all, we just got into the spring season and already I've been caught totally off guard. James Ingram. Kristoff St. John. Kevin Barnett. And, as a diehard Beverly Hills, 90210 fan while I was growing up, Luke Perry. But there was something about hearing the news of—attributes are not listed in any particular order of importance here—hip-hop artist, philanthropist, entrepreneur, community builder, father, man of Ms. Lauren London and friend to, have mercy so many (just put #RIPNipsey or basically any variation of the hashtag in your Twitter search field for evidence of just how many people knew and loved him) Nipsey Hussle that particularly stung. No, stings.
Aspects and Angles / Shutterstock.com
Before I attempt to do this mini-tribute any sort of justice, let me just say that as someone who lost my father five years ago and my fiancé on the same day that he proposed 24 years ago this fall, there is nothing more annoying than having someone who didn't personally know someone you loved try and tell you—or anyone else—about them. No, I've never met Sir Ermias Asghedom (his birth name). I've also never been to one of his shows or purchased anything from his store (although believe you me, I'll be finding some sort of way to give a few coins in support, in his honor, over the next few weeks). Still, he did make an impact on me in some pretty random-yet-relevant ways. I didn't realize just how much until today.
Nipsey Hussle as a Businessman
I'm pretty sure that most of us have heard the saying "Know your worth and then add tax." It's pretty much a mantra over here on this side. But Nipsey took it to a whole 'nother level when, once upon a time, he decided to charge $100 a pop for his mixtape; he reportedly made (count it) $100,000 in under 24 hours at his pop-up shop.
It shook (and probably shocked) so much of the business world that he was featured in Forbes back in 2013 (Forbes actually checked for him quite a bit afterwards. Also peep "Inside Nipsey Hussle's Blueprint to Become a Real Estate Mogul" that was published this past February). According to Nipsey, he attributed the idea to something he read in the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Jonah Berger). That stayed with me because it's a powerful reminder to make a lane rather than wait for someone to open up one for you. Oh, and if you don't know how to do that…READ SOMETHING.
Nipsey Hussle as a Community Activist, Supporter and Selfless Giver
Matthew 6:1-2(NKJV) says, "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward."
As I read a beautiful piece on Nipsey's life inThe Los Angeles Times this morning, something about him reminded me a lot of Prince. I say that because just like Prince did a lot of giving that many of us knew nothing about until he was gone, so did he (check out "Prince, the Secret Philanthropist: 'His Cause Was Humanity'").
Indeed, tears came to my eyes as I read, not just about how Nipsey was in the process of opening a STEM center in the Crenshaw District or how he was also redeveloping a strip mall, but also how it was nothing for him to buy a pair of shoes for teens, provide jobs for the homeless or cover the funeral fees for people who couldn't afford it. Y'all, real giving doesn't need attention or applause. It just needs a source. Nipsey was living evidence of this very fact.
Nipsey Hussle as a Bold AF Voice
Ida B. Wells once said, "The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them." Listen, it's no secret that Nipsey was going to produce a documentary on the late—and for many of us who aren't in the Matrix would dare say "great"—Dr. Sebi. In fact, last night, the good (holistic) doctor was trending on Twitter right along with the tragic news about Nipsey.
I'm not gonna get into all of the conspiracies; time will reveal what needs to be seen and known but in February of 2018, Nipsey went onto The Breakfast Club and (at the 26:53 mark) said some pretty…courageous things about the doctor and why he wanted to give his trial a (louder) voice. The things he said reminded me of something I read that actor Christian Bale once said: "I tend to think you're fearless when you recognize why you should be scared of things, but do them anyway."
To speak up against the government and pharmaceutical companies (Dr. Sebi) and then set out to shine a spotlight on him, Nipsey is fearless personified. Fear stifles. Nipsey appeared to have very little of that. It was even evident in the final tweet that he posted on yesterday—"Having strong enemies is a blessing." A blessing is a form of favor and mercy. I believe Nipsey has been granted both. In a myriad of ways. Some seen. Some unseen.
So what will happen to Nipsey's passion project now? Nick Cannon vowed on his IG that he would pick up the baton. It's touching. It's also a reminder that fearlessness is catching. That's just one more thing that moves me about Nipsey's life.
Nipsey Hussle as a Lover
My fiancé died in a freak car accident. It was so freakish that it's a book all unto itself. One of the strangest things about it is he died at a Shell station on Bell Road in Nashville. What's the big deal? If we had married, my name would've been "Shellie Bell". My nickname growing up was "Shell Bell".
***Deep breath***Last week, I watched the absolutely-adorable-and-totally-infectious GQ video featuring Nipsey and actor, Nipsey's lover and mother of one of his children Kross (he also has a daughter from a previous relationship named Emani), Lauren London. She had to ask her man 30 questions about her (he got 24 of 'em right, by the way). I got chills when they discussed that they met "On Crenshaw and Slauson, at my store."
Whew. One of his "creative babies" is on Crenshaw and Slauson. He met the love of his life (and later created more life with her) on Crenshaw and Slauson. He lost his life on Crenshaw and Slauson. Trust me, unless you lose "the one", you have NO IDEA what it's like. What you may even try and conceptualize doesn't begin to crack the surface. I must say that it did bring some warmth to my heart that Lauren loved a man who was again, fearless, in expressing his love for her; so much so that there is cyberspace documentation that no one can question.
On the red carpet at this year's GRAMMYs, Nipsey captioned a pic with her on his IG that simply said, "Isis and Osiris". On Lauren's birthday back in December, he posted a shot that said, "Happy Birthday 2 A Real One". Last summer, in a pic that had Lauren looking as beautiful as ever (and usual), his caption said, "Been thru a lot...Never folded on me. Love and respect that for life." It's not a ton of words but, let's be real— it's more than a lot of men are willing to publicly declare. Big ups to a man who leaves no doubt as to who he wants, is into and is down for. Big ups also to the men who recognize how real the love between two people are. Black men know how to love Black women. Nipsey made this point very clear.
Nipsey Hussle as a Man with a Short Life Yet a HUGE Legacy
33. Whenever I hear that someone has died at the age of 33, it jolts my spirit. Yehoshua the Christ died at 33. And, so did other people who made an impact in their own special way. Sam Cooke and Donny Hathaway are just two people who immediately come to mind. But when I thought about how one of my friends reacted when he heard the news, I knew that if there was one word to sum up what Nipsey positioned himself for, even in a little over three decades, it's legacy.
Me: "Dude, did you hear about Nipsey Hussle?!"
Him: "I can't believe it! I just bought a shirt at his store a couple of months ago."
My friend is a GRAMMY/Emmy/Dove award-winning producer by the name of SHANNON SANDERS. Because he's been in the industry for so long, we have interesting chats about the smoke-and-mirrors of the scene. But when I asked him what shook him so much about the loss of Nipsey, what he said about what he found to be the genuineness (not perfection but genuineness) of him is how I think I'll bring all of this to a close.
"My grandmother was a part of one of the first graduating classes at Crenshaw High School. Two neighborhoods I know like no other are South Nashville and the Crenshaw District. What I want to know at this point is, how many times do we have to see this narrative? It's so senseless and what I really hate about this instance is [Nipsey] represented the best among us in terms of community aspirations."
"To be killed outside of the doorstep of the empire that he built? It just hurts. But what I pray is that his loss will have a 'dandelion effect'—that what he did will inspire others when it comes to caring for people and building up their own communities. That if there is a silver lining to this tragedy, it's although he went to sleep, it has reminded many of us to wake up."
Hmph. I can't help but apply SHANNON's last line to the final scene in Spike Lee's School Daze. WAKE UP, indeed.
Rest in Peace and Power, Nipsey. We're holding you in our thoughts, hearts and prayers, Lauren. You come from good seed, Emani and Kross. We're up. We're woke. We promise.
Featured image by Andres Tardio.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There are moments on our health journey when our bodies are bugging us to hit the reset button.
With life, we can start to see slips in our diet, irregular exercising, and inconsistent sleep schedules, and our mental health can suffer because of it. But what many people come to find is that with just a few adjustments — as opposed to restrictions — being made to their food intake, we can see a focus more on eating “the right” calories and less on being on a restrictive diet.
"Raw Till 4" is a dietary concept and lifestyle associated with the raw vegan and high-carb, low-fat vegan (HCLF) movements. Created by Australian blogger and YouTube star known as 'Freelee the Banana Girl', the method suggests eating raw, uncooked plant-based foods until 4 p.m. each day and then having a cooked, vegan meal in the evening.
The Raw Till 4 lifestyle follows the guidelines of vegan and rawist eating and involves consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains in an uncooked, natural state until the designated time of 4 p.m. or around one’s typical dinner time. After 4 p.m., a cooked vegan meal is consumed, which may include foods like steamed vegetables, grains, legumes, and plant-based sources of protein like tofu or tempeh.
On TikTok, creator Adina Yaffa is repopularizing the trend, sharing how it’s helped to improve digestion, boost energy levels, and support weight loss.
Replying to @🌜kat🌛 here is what I eat in a day on a raw till 4 lifestyle. I eat with the sun and according to the circadian rhythm that out bodies follow on a typical day. Where i drink liquids during the first 8 hours, then juicy fruits, then smoothies, more dense building fats, proteins and veggies! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass #rawtill4
“During the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body is in an elimination phase and needs all the help it can get,” Yaffa says in the clip. “So what you’re going to do is drink coconut water, citrus juices, and green juices during this time, and around 8 a.m., you can break your fast with some fruit. I suggest juicing fruits, and then after that, I suggest having a smoothie or a bowl with berries and granola so you can get your fats and healthy proteins in.”
Raw till 4 has so many benefits including better digestion, nutrients, belly fat and bloat elimination, snatched waist, more energy and so much more! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass
On the official Raw Till 4 website, Freelee the Banana Girl shares tips on how to get the best outcomes of this lifestyle change, which include:
- “Stay hydrated! You should pee about 8-12 times per day, and your urine should be clear. Drink 1 liter of water when you wake up in the morning, and 1 liter of water about 30 minutes before each meal for optimal results.”
- “Fragmented sodium (salt) should be kept to a minimum. Use herbs, lemon juice, etc. wherever possible in place of salt.”
- “Eat unlimited calories at every meal, no restriction. The majority of your calories each day should come from fruit. Don’t under-eat on fruit during the day or 'save up' your calories for dinner time. RT4 is about abundance at every meal.”
- “Move your body daily. Find an activity you love and make it your playful exercise.”
- “Make sure to get lots of rest, relaxation, and good sleep. Learning to incorporate good rest, early nights, and regular sleeping patterns into your life will greatly improve your overall health.”
- “Practice gratitude and peaceful emotions at mealtime, and get a vision book started! Be sure to enjoy this journey. Focus on long-term health instead of short-term results.”
Critics argue that it can be challenging to get all the necessary nutrients from a raw vegan diet and that it may not be suitable for everyone, especially over the long term.
As with any diet, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making significant dietary changes to ensure that it meets your individual nutritional needs and health goals.
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Featured image by FreshSplash/Getty Images