Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sad Realities Of The Other Side Of Town

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LA aka Los Angeles has such diversity in it's people population.. It blows my mind sometimes how many people are here filling up this town.. The crowds no matter where you go are interesting for lack of a better term at the moment.. There's always a potential for love amongst everyone or something negative poppin off too.

Sunday wasn't as visually stunning as Saturday but it was nevertheless poignant. How's that for a cool word? *smile* I visited two different areas on Sunday. Both are very familiar to me although one I hadn't really noticed before eventhough I'd traveled around this section of town many times. I'm speaking of Watts. I've been to this historic city but never had I passed by the Jordan Downs projects before. The picture above was taken there on Sunday. No disrespect to the residents of this project housing but the whole look and vibe of the area was very depressing; very sad. There were only two ways to get inside this place when it comes to driving your car unlike Nickerson Gardens, another project located five minutes away, where it seems a little more open. Looking at Jordan Downs I wondered how people must feel living there. I mean, there wasn't much joy, not even on the faces of kids who usually can find happiness anywhere. All the buildings were pink with bars everywhere. I can't imagine being excited about going home here but I do respect those that find a way to dig deep within themselves to persevere despite their circumstances. I'm pretty sure they're to be found here but on this day, everybody I saw either looked very angry or sad.. Makes me wish I had the power to do something that could make everybody happy... Jordan Downs seems worlds away from the so-called finer areas of Los Angeles and even my own suburb/valley living area.

Speaking of worlds away, I spent another lovely Sunday evening hanging out in front of Starbucks. Yep yep..and what do you see there? Lots and lots of women walking around.. Beautiful... all kinds..black, asian, latino, a growing population of ethiopian ladies, and many others.. Then you see fancy cars and SUV'S driving back and forth playing loud music from different eras. I mean, you might see a lowrider cruise by playing old Parliament, Heatwave, War, etc etc.. Or you might see another ride cruise by playing NWA, Eazy E, Ice Cube, The Game, etc etc... One guy drove by in a really old Cadillac playing some Curtis Mayfield and it sounded good. He turned heads just like he wanted to and inspired a few smiles and hollers. Then you have the parade of motorcycles riding by.. Every kind you can imagine making you feel like you're in the wild wild west. When they get off their bikes, everybody got that swagger as they make their way to the hanging out area. The best part is seeing all the comraderie between all the motorcycle clubs.. Everybody hugs everybody and shows concern and love no matter what your colors are or what the name on your vest is... I enjoyed seeing that.. I salute those clubs; Wanted Ridaz, Infinite Ridaz, Prospects, Red C Ridaz, A/O Ridaz and all the others whose names I can't recall filling the air with a positive vibe.

I sat next to a guy that was dressed in beige slacks, a black shirt, hair all greased back, sunglasses, and sandals. He talked major league mess and BS.. He complained about everything from the motorcycles to the music playing inside Starbucks. I figured he should've liked it considering he was 40 something and they were playing Aretha, Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, The Dramatics, etc etc... Sounded good to me though no one was really paying attention to the music as much as they were checking out the scene. Then this fella spent about 15 minutes straight talking about stocks, bonds, realestate, and taking a trip to Nigeria. He mixed all those subjects together to a point where he made no sense at all.. Just sounded like he was bragging to me.. After a while I got tired and tuned him out until he finally pointed something out that we both could relate to, which was this gorgeous honey coated female approaching the door of Starbucks and smiling at us because we were staring so hard.. We both gave each other daps and nodded in agreement...

"Yep yep, that's why most of us here chillin at this particular Starbucks," He said.

"Exactly..." I told him.

And then on my way home, I thought about those kids I'd seen earlier on Sunday behind and surrounded by all those bars in Jordan Downs. I sent up a prayer for them with the hopes that whoever is teaching and raising them is supplying them with the inspiration to dream, hope, and strive for anything and everything that they want to see and do in this life... Know that there's a whole world out there waiting for them and that those bars are by no means a precursor to a direction they're destined for. It dont have to be that way at all...


Phoenix said...

It's sad to see kids living like that. I worked once at a school in the Bronx, NY and the neighborhood was VERY depressing. It was a major reason I quite working there. The kids had no glimmer of hope.

kolohe jo said...

What I find amazing is how just a hop, skip and a jump away life is so different. Our government spends so much money trying to "fix" other places in the world yet we have places like this right in our own back yards.

Yes, it is the kids who suffer and this is all the more reason to show them that there are roads to better lives. With the hardship and sacrifices they have already had to endure it is possible for some of the strongest people to come out of places such as this. There is for sure raw talent there in the midst of all the "bad". Good hearts who understand that life is worth fighting for if given the opportunity!

This kind of topic always strikes a very passionate nerve in me. It is all of our responsibility to take care of our backyards and share the opportunities we are blessed to have. Negativity and anger such as some of what you see is maybe a way of getting a message out there, but is it really helping the cause.