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What does the term rest in power mean?

When you hear the phrase “rest in peace,” what comes to your mind? It’s often understood as a way to bid farewell to someone who has passed on. “Rest in power” takes the idea a step further, adding a layer of recognition and respect in the face of an unjust or wrongful death. Though it’s been in use for some time, the phrase has gained prominence in recent years, particularly within Black and LGBTQ communities. In this blog post, we’ll explore what the term “rest in power” means and how it has become a call to action for social justice.

What is Rest in Power?

Rest in power is a variation of the phrase “rest in peace,” used particularly in instances where the passing was considered unjust or wrongful. It signifies the need to honor and recognize someone who passed away too soon, and whose contributions and legacy will continue to have an impact long after their passing.

Rest in power has particularly gained prominence in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, as it has been used to honor those who have died at the hands of police brutality and systemic racism. The phrase serves as a way to continue their legacy and memory, and as a call to keep fighting for justice and change.

While “rest in peace” is a well-known phrase, rest in power is a call to recognize the power of those whose lives were cut short due to injustice. It serves as a way to honor the contributions of individuals who may not have received recognition during their lifetime, and to signal that their impact will be felt long after their death.

History of Rest in Power

The term “rest in power” has its roots in African American Vernacular English (AAVE), a dialect of English spoken primarily by Black Americans. It can be traced back as far as the 1980s, when it was used to honor notable figures in the Black community, such as civil rights activists and musicians.

One of the earliest instances of rest in power being used in popular culture goes back to 1994, when rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting. His close friend, rapper and producer Treach, tweeted “Rest in peace 2pac. All eyez on me. Are u still down? Makaveli lives in our hearts. Rest in power.”

In recent years, rest in power has become a rallying cry for marginalized communities, particularly following the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and other Black individuals who were killed by police. The hashtag #restinpower became a trending topic on social media, with activists using it as a way to draw attention to the systemic issues that lead to such deaths, and as a way to honor those who lost their lives.

Rest in Power as a Call to Action

Rest in power is not just a phrase to honor those who have passed away. It’s also a call to action for those still living. Essentially, it’s a way of saying that the legacy of the deceased should serve as a reminder to those still alive that there is still work to be done.

In this way, rest in power has become a symbol of resistance. It represents a refusal to accept the status quo, and a commitment to fighting for social justice. It’s a reminder of the power and resilience of those who have been oppressed and marginalized throughout history, and a call to continue their work.


Rest in power is a phrase that has gained significant prominence in recent years, particularly within the Black and LGBTQ communities. It represents a recognition of the power and strength of individuals who have passed away too soon, and a call to continue their legacy of fighting for a more just and equitable world. As we continue to engage in conversations about systemic injustice and social change, the phrase rest in power will likely remain an important symbol of hope and resilience.


Why did people start saying rest in power?

The phrase “rest in power” came into common use in the early 2000s, particularly in the United States. While some believe that this phrase is simply an update on the more commonly used saying, “rest in peace,” the origins of “rest in power” are rooted in a particular context.

In 2000, a graffiti artist in Oakland, California named Antonio Ramos was shot and killed while working on a mural. Instead of using the phrase “rest in peace,” some people began saying “rest in power” to honor his memory. The phrase “power” in this context referred to the impact Antonio had on the community through his art and positive presence.

Other instances of the phrase being used in the following years in response to the deaths of people who were killed in incidents of gun violence or murdered, often in the context of police brutality. Those who use “rest in power” in these circumstances are often attempting to call for justice and to remember the power of the life that was lost.

The phrase has also been embraced by some in the Black Lives Matter movement as a way of honoring the lives of black individuals who have been killed by law enforcement. The use of “power” in this context is seen as empowering the person who has died and asserting their value and impact on their community.

The phrase “rest in power” grew out of a desire to honor those who had been taken too soon, particularly due to acts of violence. By using this phrase instead of the more common “rest in peace,” people are asserting that the person who has passed was powerful in life and that their impact was significant and lasting. It is a way of recognizing the person’s contributions and calling for justice in their honor.

What does rest in power mean urban dictionary?

“Rest in power” is a phrase that has gained popularity in recent years. It is a play on the traditional phrase “rest in peace”, which is often expressed as a wish for someone who has passed away to find peace in the afterlife. However, “rest in power” takes on a different meaning and purpose.

In the context of the Urban Dictionary, “rest in power” refers to the idea that an individual who has passed away cannot truly rest in peace until society changes for the better, particularly in response to the circumstances of their death. For example, if someone was the victim of police brutality or a hate crime, the phrase “rest in power” might be used to express the belief that justice needs to be served and systemic change is necessary to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

In essence, “rest in power” is a call to action. It recognizes that many individuals who have suffered untimely deaths have done so because of social injustice and inequality, and that their deaths should not be mourned in silence. Instead, their memory should be honored and their voices amplified to bring about the change that they themselves may have fought for.

While “rest in peace” may be a common phrase used to express condolences, “rest in power” is a tribute to those who have fought against oppression and a commitment to continuing their work beyond their passing. It is a reminder that their legacy lives on and that their lives were not in vain.

Is it OK to say rest in paradise?

The phrase “Rest in Paradise” has become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative to saying “Rest in Peace” when someone has passed away. While this phrase is meant to communicate sympathy and well wishes to the grieving family and friends, some people debate whether the phrase is appropriate or not.

On one hand, some people argue that the term “Rest in Paradise” is a beautiful way to express the hope that someone who has passed away has found eternal happiness and peace in an idyllic afterlife. In this context, the phrase is meant to convey positivity and comfort to those left behind. Additionally, many people feel that the term “Rest in Paradise” is more appropriate for someone who was religious, as many religions express a belief in an afterlife in which their followers will experience eternal happiness.

On the other hand, some people believe that the term “Rest in Paradise” is culturally insensitive or even appropriative because it is not commonly used in many cultures. Some people argue that the phrase may be seen as appropriating the concept of an afterlife from certain cultures, particularly those with a history of colonization or oppression. Additionally, some people feel that “Rest in Paradise” is too flippant or casual for the solemn occasion of someone’s passing.

Whether or not it is appropriate to say “Rest in Paradise” is a matter of personal preference and cultural sensitivity. While the phrase may be appropriate and meaningful for some, others may feel that it is culturally insensitive or too casual for such a solemn occasion. the most important thing is to offer sincere condolences and support to the family and loved ones of the deceased.