Sunday, April 10, 2005
Success Leads To This...
On one of my venturing out journeys over the weekend, I'd discovered this street that served as one of the entry ways into a project housing complex known as Nickerson Gardens. I laughed a little bit and then I wondered if folks living there even paid attention to it or if the sign to them had disappeared in their consciousness and become a backdrop to the sights and sounds of the hood.
This past weekend I took a friend of mine (KR) who wanted to visit Nickerson Gardens again. We'd gone there before but we didn't find that much to photograph. However, on this visit we came across several really interesting images. The young boy in his own world drawing in his coloring book. He refused to smile but he finally looked up. There was a gang of fellas hanging out on Success Avenue that we wanted to photograph but from the looks on their faces, we figured it was safer to capture the image in our minds and be able to laugh about it later.
After that we drove around and discovered a whole world within the confines of this area made famous by videos like the anti-violence music video "All In The Same Gang" and the movie, Set It Off. This area has character and stories for days despite the occasional violence that breaks out. KR had seen and was touched by this young man taking care of his little baby girl. He tried desperately to keep her warm as the wind was strong enough to blow clothes off the line behind him. It was a chilly day despite the clear blue skies.
Another scene we saw was an older crowd playing cards outside on one corner and perhaps a block away there was a latino family of several generations preparing for a big outdoor picnic celebration. Within this world there was a feeling of community and that's something I rarely see in the so-called better neighborhoods on the other side of town including my own. Mind you, Nickerson Gardens looks like a place you dont want to be stranded in and the homes on the outside edge of this area have more bars than your maximum security prisons but over the weekend, the sun was shining and everybody seemed cool with each other. As I said, there was a true sense of community spirit combined with all the images that black folk might smile and reminisce about.. Hair being braided on the front porch, young men standing proud in T-shirts and colors representing who they claim to be and young kids oblivious to their surroundings but having fun as if they'd found all the joy they'd need to see.
It was a cool day on Saturday... A day in the LIFE under the gleaming LA sky...