It's been one year since Nipsey Hussle was gunned down in front of his clothing store in South LA. His death prompted weeks of vigils, parades, and countless murals honoring his work.
Before his death, Hussle used his platform as a musician and entrepreneur to encourage peace between the city's different gang sets. He himself was affiliated with the Rollin’ 60s, and often performed and worked with rival Bloods-affiliated rappers to set an example.
After his death, gangs of all kinds came together to march in his honor. His killing also reinvigorated ongoing peace talks between rival sets, building on Hussle’s advocacy for unity between them.
Alex Alonso is a gang expert and professor of Chicano and Latino studies at California State University, Long Beach, and he’s been involved in several of the ongoing peace conversations. He says that Los Angeles has a long history of gang intervention dating back to the late 1980s.
“Those 88 talks eventually culminated to the 1992 truce, which is probably the first truce, large-scale ceasefire that Los Angeles had ever seen,” Alonso tells KCRW. “It's always like a tragic event that takes place that gets these peace talks going, unfortunately. Some of these guys were already at the table for the last two, three years. But when that Nipsey Hussle killing happened, it really kind of accelerated these talks.”
Alonso says that one year after Hussle’s death, the streets are coming to a place of calm that they have never been in before.
“I think the progress that's been made in the last year is the most that we've ever seen in the history of Los Angeles when it comes to ceasefires,” he says. “Right after Nipsey got killed, I believe it was like April 2nd, April 3rd, we saw different gangs and different Crips sets come together over there at the corner of Slawson and Crenshaw that hadn't even talked for 40 years.”
At least 30 different gangs from across Los Angeles County have agreed to a ceasefire with rival gangs in the past year. Alonso says that he is optimistic about what the future holds.
“I feel like we're gonna have at least 100 gangs agree to cease fires within the next year or two.”