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Lauren London sat down for her first interview since the death of Nipsey Hussle. The 35-year-old actress opens up about losing her partner to gun violence in an episode of Jada Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk titled, “How Gun Violence Affects Women.”
The episode, portions of which were filmed earlier in the year, features activist Erica Ford, founder of the violence prevention organization, Life Camp.
London spoke with Pinkett Smith about her earliest experiences with gun violence. “Just growing up in L.A. in the area that I was around,” she recalled. “In high school, a lot of the boys were in gangs. I just remember that a lot of our friends by summer time they were gone. They had transitioned from gun violence. So you kind of got a little bit, I don’t want to say numb, but used to hearing it.”
Pinkett Smith pointed out that growing up around constant gun violence is akin to living in a “war zone,” and becomes normalized.
“Even going to a party in high school…you always knew where the exit was because you knew at any time smoking can happen,” said London. “That’s traumatizing to be 16 years old and having to be on guard when you go to a party.”
London went on to spoke about healing through the trauma of losing Nipsey, the joy that she gets when people tell her the influence that he had on their lives, and raising sons.
“What I instill in them is more about the police,” London said of her children. “How to handle yourself if you get pulled over. That’s more of my [education] protecting them being Black men in America.”
London has also found a tribe among other women who have lost loved ones to gun violence, and has been leaning into her friends and family for support.
“For me, what’s really been important is connecting with God. That’s been a struggle because something horrible happens in your eyes and you’re like ‘How God?’ And knowing that there is life after this life, it’s not easy. I don’t always wake up on the enlightened side of the bed, and the days I don’t, I let myself because I’m human. I’m gentle with myself. I’m finding things that matter, so I try to live with a purpose. When I’m having a bad day I mediate, I go within.
“I think it’s important for people that love you to remind you [of] who you are because trauma and violence and just life can make you feel down,” London explained. “To have people that love you, that remind you that you matter, that you’ll be okay and you can do this, that’s been very important for me.”
Watch the episode below.
John Boyega delivered a powerful and moving speech during a Black Lives Matter rally in London on Wednesday (June 3).
“I wanna’ thank every single one of you for coming out this is very important, this is very vital. Black lives have always mattered,” the 28-year-old Star Wars actor said to a cheering crowd. “We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless, and now is the time. I ain’t waiting.
Boyega called out detractors for trying to derail the peaceful protest before sharing his feelings on the recent incidents of police brutality and white supremacist violence that have fueled recent uprisings. “I need you guys to understand how painful this s**t is! How painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing, [but] that isn’t that case anymore. We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland, for Trayvon Martin, for Steven Lawrence, for Mark Dugan.”
In another emotional moment, Boyega addressed Black men. “We need to take care of our Black women. They are our hearts,” he said through tears. “They are our future. We cannot demonize our own. We are the pillars of the family. Imagine this: a nation that is set up with individual families that are thriving, that are healthy, that communicate, that raise their children in love, [that] have a better rate of becoming better human beings and that’s what we need to create. Black men, it starts with you.”
Watch the full speech below.
Ella Jones became Ferguson’s first Black mayor following Tuesday’s (June 2) election. Winning 59.9% percent of the vote, Jones beat out opponent and fellow Ferguson City Councilwoman Heather Robinett. The victory also makes Jones the city’s first female mayor.
“It’s just our time,” Jones, 65, said in a post-election interview with the St. Louis Dispatch. “It’s just my time to do right by the people.”
Ferguson gained worldwide attention in 2014 after Ferguson police shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, and the fight for justice hasn't stopped. Most recently, residents took to the streets amid the coronavirus pandemic to protest the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other police brutality victims.
“In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, our restaurants, our businesses were closed, and now they were trying to open up and we have the protests, so it set a lot of businesses back,” she told the St. Louis American. “So, I am just reaching out to various partners to see how we can best help these businesses recover from the protests and open. We don’t want to lose any of our businesses, because they are the cornerstone of our community, and when we lose one, it just hurts all. My goal is to work, talk to anyone that will listen, to help stabilize these businesses in Ferguson.”
Jones previously ran for mayor in 2017 but lost to incumbent James Knowles III, who served as mayor for three terms.
The former pastor has called Ferguson home for more than 40 years. A graduate from the University of Missouri at St. Louis with a degree in chemistry, Jones obtained a certification a high pressure liquid chromatographer and completed training as a pharmacy technician. Jones' background includes working in Washington University School of Medicine's biochemistry molecular bio-physics department, and as an analytical chemist for KV Pharmaceutical Company, as well as a Mary Kay, where she was a sales director for 30 years before quitting to work in the community full time.
Jones is also the founder and chairperson of the nonprofit community development organization, Community Forward, Inc., and a member of the Boards of the Emerson Family YMCA, and the St. Louis MetroMarket, the latter of which is a decommissioned bus that was retrofitted as a mobile farmers’ market that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved communities.
Hear more from Jones in the video below.