This was a great piece as always. First let me say — glad you’re back! I haven’t seen anything by you for a minute. Now on to the business of Nip.

I struggle with the hop-hop culture/community. I love the music, I hate the culture. I love some of the messages — the mess, not so much. The violence, homophobia, drugs, the fashions/fads, the lack of respect for coherent language/speaking, and degradation of women are things I take issue with. There are some brilliant people in the game who sell their souls to satan in order to get a deal and a rollie.

We seem to hate when we are successful. We hate each other so much we will keep us from making it. It’s not just the streets though — this attitude permeates corporate America as well. Because so many of us don’t understand group economics and how to practice it, those who make it leave and don’t look back. When dudes like Nipsey and others like myself try to engage in community development, it’s not the outside tearing us down, it’s your own damn people! And at the center of all the madness for better or worse are men.

The absent men. The few good men. The endless numbers of lost young men. Incarcerated men. Abused and abandoned men. The men who make babies and leave women to fend for themselves caring for them. The men who won’t work, and the men who can’t work.

Men.

Men are the root of the problem and the solution to the problem. Men have done more tearing down than building up. And those who are in good shape have sat on the sidelines taking care of their own.

Black men are going to have to reconcile with the damage they’ve done (and not done) to Black communities with their harmful words (hip-hop culture), via their absence (making babies before they are ready to care for them), and with the failure to maintain and protect Black communities. We used to have to worry about the enemy outside of the community, now we have to worry about our own young people executing and stealing from us and our kids.

Do we leave or do we stay? My struggle lies here. I’m tired (exhausted) of trying to build Black greatness and getting beat down on both sides. I can fight for your against Whiteness, but then I come back with the winnings and Blackness makes me regret I did it. It’s easy to say we shouldn’t give up, but if you look at what we are up against, it’s a no-brainer. We Blacks make the decision easy. No one wants to work for thankless people. No one wants to keep giving people things and they keep destroying them. I used to be angry when people leave the hood behind, but not anymore. Nipsey’s death is the perfect example. No matter what you do, you lose.

If you stay in the hood, haters gonna hate and kill you. Instead of being happy for a brother and asking how he did it, we are angry and we kill the thing we envy so we don’t have to see it anymore.

If you leave you’re a sell out. If you give — -you don’t give enough. If you don’t give, you are selfish. You can’t win with us. You just can’t win. The ignorance is profound. We have generational curses that can’t be broken because men, the root of our problem, haven’t decided to become a solution.

The day Black men figure out community is more powerful than money, and strong families with strong roots and foundations are what create real wealth is the day we turn a new leaf. Until then, the decision is to stay or leave. We make the decision pretty easy.

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