Lauren London opened up on gun violence in America a little more than a year after her partner, rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed outside of his clothing store in Los Angeles. London joined Jada Pinkett-Smith on an episode of Red Table Talk to dig deep into how gun violence has personally impacted her, the legacy of her late partner, and how she educates her sons about handling police interactions.
London and Pinkett-Smith seemed to bring us this episode at the most perfect time. As our nation is protesting against police brutality, she delves into difficult conversations she has had to have with her children. “What I instill in them is more about the police, how to handle yourself when you get pulled over. That’s more of my education, protecting them being black men in America,” stated London when she talks with her three-year-old son with Hussle, Kross, and her 10-year-old with former partner Lil Wayne, Kameron.
London also said that growing up in Los Angeles she had schoolmates who were in gangs and by summertime “they were gone… they had transitioned from gun violence.” And while she never truly became accustomed to, or even numb to hearing that one of them had passed, by middle school or high school Pinkett-Smith said that for her too, that kind of hovering fate became “unfortunately, like a norm.”
Since Hussle’s passing last March, London, 35, said that it fills her heart to hear how many people have been lifted up by Nip’s music. His death undeniably sparked a wave of activism and support in the music industry and across the country.
“I love to meet people that Nip has really inspired, cause it feels like he’s still here. It’s like his purpose that was completely outside of any of us… it’s like he’s touching people still. When my kids are there and my kids hear it, they’re proud. Those are always very special moments.”
The episode was entirely dedicated to how gun violence affects women, including London talking about how she copes with her grief and the traumatizing effects of seeing gun-related bloodshed. “You just get used to figuring how to keep yourself safe in these environments and I try to tell people all the time… most of us grew up in war zones and I did not even really realize that until my life changed… when I started to look at how my kids were growing up versus me,” Smith said.
Many of us can unfortunately relate to being in a constant survival mode as we have grown up within inner cities. London recalled stories where she was going to parties in high school and checking where the exits were located just in case any violence broke out.
“That’s traumatizing… to be 16 years old and having to be on guard when you go into a party.”
As a woman who has experienced the lengths to which gun violence can affect an individuals life, London has devoted time to helping others with similar experiences, speaking to a group of teenage girls who also lost loved ones to gun violence.
“Trauma feels so lonely and just in talking to them, they gave me so much more than I feel like I gave to them,” she said. “They gave me just their stories and just their rawness, and it made me feel not so alone. It was magical. It was very healing.”
The conversation also featured a chat with activist Erica Ford, founder of the violence prevention organization Life Camp, as well as shooting victims Dani Robinson and Rain Stippec.
Watch the Red Table Talk below: