or my level shifter isn't working.
I tried to use the NeoPixel library, and it worked without needing any level shifter.
After research I realized I may need a level shifter, so I got the SN74AHC125N to shift from 3.3V to 5V for the strip.
VIH High-level input voltage with VCC = 5.5 V minimum signal voltage 3.85V
it's all working now without needing the level shifter
This is what happens with electronics and beginners, they think that just because it works for them it is a working circuit. They then go on to publish it and are surprised at the criticism they get. Or some time later down the line it stops working for them and are baffled.
An obvious blunder in your picture using the 74AHC125 is the failure to connect the unused inputs to ground.
It is improbable that the chip was damaged, so using another of the same is most unlikely to make any difference. Of course, in experimentation, buying just one of any particular part is rather unwise in any case.