More than a week ago, the Hip-Hop, African-American, and South Central LA communities were dealt a devastating blow when rapper and philanthropist Nipsey Hussle was gunned down in his beloved neighborhood. Since Nipsey’s death, there has been a constant outpouring of tributes, grief, gratitude, and love expressed for both him and his family. As a fan of Nipsey Hussle the man, I’m very despondent about the loss of such a great brother and equally angered by the manner in which we lost him. However, I feel an even greater sadness for his longtime girlfriend Lauren London because I know firsthand the pain, loneliness, and heartache that you experience when you lose your soulmate.
Most of you may be familiar with the concept of a soulmate, but until you have lived and loved in that emotional and spiritual space, you are clueless as to what that type of bond is really like. While a soulmate is typically defined in basic terms as someone who is a close friend or romantic partner, it’s truly much greater. Honestly, the feelings that manifest when your soul collides with another organically are something that damn near can’t be put into words. It’s energy; strong, positive energy that is impossible to redirect or deny.
The energy between soulmates is significant. In the words of the late great Zora Neale Hurston, “Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.” The energy between soulmates can’t be hidden. That’s why so many of us were drawn to Nipsey and Lauren’s love. Although they played it cool as a couple and didn’t display a lot of physical affection publicly, we witnessed the authenticity of their connection because the light surrounding their love was bright, and still is. When Nipsey looked at Lauren, it was obvious he understood she was a queen and that God had blessed him with his good thing. Lauren’s joy was undeniable; her smile, the light in her eyes, and her confidence said it all. So many saw them as relationship goals, our modern day Malcolm and Betty, with him being the strong, woke, outspoken Black king and her the beautiful supportive Nubian queen by his side who possessed her own power.
As support and prayers for Lauren pour in, I am reminded of the never-ending sorrow my soul lives with. Like Lauren, I loved and lost my soul’s mate. Takeba Ferris was my childhood friend, my confidant, my love, and “my muscle.” We learned the world together, we shared one another’s pain, we conquered our fears together. We vibrated high on every level; the romance was great but even without it our love was intoxicating. In the midst of my trials, he was my peace. He helped me love him by teaching me that I could only do that if I loved myself. He celebrated me and I celebrated him; even in relationships with others, we encouraged one another. Not even the distance between heaven and earth could separate us but that physical absence is a b-tch because the heart craves what it wants without ceasing.
I have no doubt that Lauren’s world stopped when Nipsey died, and while she will survive this trauma, she is forever changed. Not only will her life be different without his physical presence, but she will also be a different woman. Stronger, wiser, more intentional — different. Over time she will find peace in the trauma of losing her soul’s mate and she will find a way to celebrate their love and light. However, for now, she will mourn what was and what could have been. Her existence will be flooded with tears and she will experience an agonizing pain because her mind, body, and soul will crave Nipsey.
As Lauren’s sister in this struggle, I encourage her to grieve as long as she must in the manner in which she sees fit. People (even Nipsey’s other loved ones) won’t understand Lauren’s grief completely, they can’t. There will be those who expect her grief to expire but the truth is that may never happen, and that’s okay. Two years later, I’m still grieving. But in the midst of it I found peace and understanding, and in due time Lauren will also. My prayer is that she embraces the philosophy that life, in this present form, must go on and that dope sh-t never dies. Nipsey’s energy will forever surround her until she sees him next lifetime.