On April 6, in honor of late rapper Nipsey Hussle and his immense leadership in his community, members of the Crips and Bloods gathered in a Compton Park to confront each other and the issue of gang violence in their neighborhoods.
After two hours of intense negotiations, the rival gangs reached a tentative agreement. It wasn’t a truce, but more of a cease-fire.
According to the LA Times, the cease-fire talks in Compton were part of an audacious effort by Los Angeles-area gang leaders to curtail violence in their own ranks after the killing of rapper, activist, and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle.
The profound loss of Nipsey, whose influence extended beyond hip-hop culture up through to the realms of business and politics, gave pause to life extended members of both street gangs.
Not since the truce called in 1992, following the destruction and widespread violence of the LA riots, have gang members come together to mark a serious and determent attempt to curtail the violence in their communities.
“We’re going to carry what Nipsey wanted, what he was trying to preach in his songs,” said Shamond “Lil AD” Bennett, 38, of the Rollin’ 60s. “It don’t make no sense that you’re fighting over a block that you don’t own,” he told the LA Times.
Starting with a cross section of gang members marching together at a memorial for Nipsey, to the continuing with summits and peace talks in Compton and around other parts of LA, the movement in Hussle’s Honor is already seeing results.
According to the LA Times, the Rollin’ 40s Crips are deep into cease-fire talks with the Rollin’ 60s, despite a war dating to 2013 and the killing of a prominent 40s elder last summer and the Van Ness Gangsters recently held a family friend hood day.
Advocates for peace within gang culture say that even if only a few beefs are squashed and even if it’s only temporary, it still has the power to save lives.
“We’re going to still be Bloods. They’re going to still be Crips,” said Melinda Lockhart, 49, an organizer of the May 4 hood day at Van Ness Park told the Times. “But put the guns down and let’s live.”