RAP LOOKS THAT WE LOVED GROWING UP

Hip Hop has fashion has always been influential. We’ve seen the durag co-opted by high fashion brands such as Chanel and sold as “urban head rags.” From Lil Kim’s colorful wig and fur combinations, to Cam’Ron’s all pink everything and Fabolous’ throwback jerseys, let’s explore some looks that stood out from late 90s to mid 2000s.

 

 

IMG_1476.JPG
Fabolous in the “Trade It All” video with the bandana over fitted and Lakers jersey.

 

IMG_1477
In the same video, Fabolous wore the infamous towel bandana.
IMG_1475
Ghostface Killah donning a green fur frock with a championship belt in the “Cherchez LaGhost” video
IMG_1504 (1)
Fire camo jacket and bucket hat combo in Cam’Ron’s “Get Em Girls” video
vintage-sunglasses-nas-paolo-gucci_large
Nas in a leather and Cartier frames in a “Belly” scene
IMG_1484.JPG
Method Man in a mustard yellow Avirex leather and fuzzy kangol in “Belly”
IMG_1754.JPG
Pink bandana jacket with the matching timbs customized in paisley bandana print & the Diplomats logo in the “I Really Mean It” video
IMG_1464.JPG
Cam’Ron’s infamous pink fur coat/headband combo
IMG_1483.JPG
Nas & then Puff Daddy donning furs in the “Hate Me Now” video
IMG_1482 (1).PNG
Nas’ infamous Avirex in “Belly”
Curaiu8XYAUfA3M.jpg
EVERY SINGLE LOOK IN LIL KIM’S “CRUSH ON YOU” VIDEO
tumblr_owmf2ozB711sufv62o1_400.jpg
Foxy Brown in a stunning fur with a sheer dress/ bra combo
3c6fbccd696b47fd3c80e1196cb4fb01.jpg
Foxy again in a yellow body con with an orange shearling/hat combo

 

jmya.jpg
Jay-Z and Mya in the North Carolina Tarheels Jordan jerseys in the “Best Of Me” video
IMG_1501 (2).JPG
Only Killa could make the USA flag look redeemable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

BURNT BRIDGES & AGGRAVATION – CORDELL WATTS

IMG_1259

Cordell Watts is a young lyricist out of Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. With an inviting and charismatic delivery, he makes another mark on the underground world with his fifth project “Burnt Bridges & Aggravation.” “Burnt Bridges & Aggravation” features production from Watts himself, Juno Adonis, Tone Jonez of Jee Juh music and others. “Pedigree Joint,” “It Rained Today,” and “Blood On My Leaves” are amongst the most outstanding tracks on the project.

Listen below:

 

 

 

IG: @cwattsnyc

Twitter: @cwatts86

Facebook: Cordell Watts

HOW BED-STUY BECAME BLACK: MIGRATION, REDLINING & BLOCKBUSTING

IMG_0118

For decades, Bedford-Stuyvesant, famously known as Bed-Stuy, has served as a historical and cultural center for African Americans in Brooklyn. Prior to the Great African American Migration after the failed Reconstruction era, the vile and grotesque Dutch settlers arrived in the southern tip of Long Island which was originally inhabited by the Lenape in the 1600s. The Lenape and other indigenous groups would lose a hold of their home through dishonorable land deals, smallpox, war and other factors. Bed-Stuy itself was settled and purchased by Dutch settlers from the Canarsee in 1670. Throughout the rest of the Brooklyn township, the Dutch settlers would establish villages with other European settlers from Germany, Scandinavia, England and France bringing enslaved Africans along with them. By 18th century, enslaved Africans would become a third of Kings County’s population with slavery becoming illegal in New York State in 1827.

Named after the Dutch village of Bedford and the last governor of the New Netherlands, Peter Stuyvesant in 1667, Bed-Stuy was once considered two separate neighborhoods: Bedford and Stuyvesant Heights. With the Williamsburg Bridge being completed in 1907, Italians and Jews moved in large numbers to Bedford and Stuyvesant Heights from the Lower East Side. Starting in 1915, more than six million African Americans migrated out of the rural Southern part of the United States to the urban cities in the Northern and the Midwestern United States to escape the lack of economic opportunities, as well as Jim Crow segregation and lynchings. They decided to take advantage of the demand for industrial workers that emerged from World War 1. Harlem became populated with African Americans and diasporic black people which blossomed into a political, social and cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. This movement developed Harlem into a black cultural mecca during the 1920s. During the 1930s, the Eighth Avenue line covered by the A train was extended into Brooklyn from Manhattan. With Harlem being very populated, many of Harlem’s black residents moved to what would finally merge into Bed-Stuy due to the train line extension. Bed-Stuy’s new black residents sought better living conditions, less crowded neighborhoods and more job opportunities, especially at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War 2. Occurring during the 1930s alongside the Harlem Renaissance was the Great Depression. Out of this came a very racist systematic practice known as “redlining.”

REDLINING: The systematic practice of denying or limiting financial services to certain neighborhoods based on racial or ethnic composition without regard to the residents’ qualifications or creditworthiness.

redlining-racism-brooklyn-neighborhoods-bed-stuy-williamsburg-01

(Map of redlined Brooklyn)

This racist housing policy was created by the Federal Housing Administration in 1934. The FHA collaborated with banks and insurance companies to create the new government agency: the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation. This is the apparatus that redlining was executed through. Redlining benefitted white home ownerships by making loans guaranteed. Black people and those who lived around them were denied loans outright. Bed-Stuy was assessed by an appraiser for the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation. Neighborhoods such as Bed-Stuy, East New York, Williamsburg and Crown Heights were all redlined which was categorized as “hazardous.” In the appraiser’s summary he described what put the redline around Bed-Stuy:

Colored infiltration a definitely adverse influence on neighborhood desirability.

The redlining resulted in white flight of the neighborhood. The war economy allowed Italians and Jews to move out in large numbers to Queens and Long Island. Bed-Stuy’s black population was 155,000 by 1950 making up 55 percent of the neighborhood’s racial composition. By then another racist housing practice had begun: “blockbusting.”

BLOCKBUSTING: the practice of persuading owners to sell property cheaply because of the fear of people of another race or class moving into the neighborhood, and thus profiting by reselling at a higher price.

With black people becoming the majority in Bed-Stuy, real estate agents took advantage by putting fear in the neighborhood’s white residents. These residents sold their homes for cheap prices with the real estate agents making good profits off of the fear of black people. 

Bed-Stuy would continue to be home of New York’s second largest African American neighborhood after Harlem.  

 

 

THE INFLUENCE OF AN UNDERGROUND LEGEND – MAX B

 

IMG_0092

Growing up during the Dipset era in New York City was an exciting time that you had to be there for. We got tons of gems, “Diplomatic Immunity” 1 and 2, Juelz Santana’s albums and mixtapes, Cam’ron’s “Come Home With Me,” “Purple Haze,” “Killa Season,” with the accompanying movie, as well Hell Rell, JR Writer, Byrdgang, and all of Dipset affiliates. The first time I heard “Babygirl” by Jim Jones, I was enamored by the male voice on the hook that belonged to someone named Max B. It was a hit all throughout the city garnering much radio play.  As a huge Dipset fan, I definitely owned the “Harlem: Diary of a Summer” album. “G’s Up” ended up being a standout track on the album due to Max B featuring on the hook. with him going on to feature on the hook for Cam’ron’s infamous diss to Jay Z, “You Gotta Love It.” Every appearance Max made prior to dropping his debut mixtape “Million Dollar Baby,” were just precursors of the illustrious music he would eventually bless us with.

From 2006 to 2009, Max B dominated the mixtape circuit with tapes such as the “Million Dollar Baby” series, the entire “Public Domain” series, “Domain Diego,” “Wavie Crockett”, “Coke Wave” 1 and 2. In the midst of it all, he began feuding with Jim Jones over shady business dealings which he exposed in multiple songs and documented in the “Cocaine City” street DVDs alongside French Montana. The feud spawned songs such as “Lip Sing,” outing Jim Jones for using him as a ghostwriter, “She Touched It In Miami,” and “Tattoos On Her Ass,” detailing his alleged affair with Jones’ fiancee. Despite being blackballed from radio play due to this feud, Max B was able to reach a large audience in New York City and throughout the entire North East from his departure with Byrdgang and moving on to Gain Greene working heavily with Dame Grease, Al Pac, French and several others.

With street classics such as “Blow Me A Dub,” “Why You Do That,” “Gotta Have It,” “Try Me” and several others, he had a stronghold underground with an entirely original sound, the wave. The production paired with him singing gritty lyrics for hooks were something that was never executed in this manner. The hair, dark shades, chains and Nike boots all attributed to his “wavy” persona, even referring to himself as the Silver Surfer or Wavie Crockett. Let’s not forget his signature phrase, “OWWWWW.” His influence led to people naming themselves after his Biggaveli pseudonym, which is an ode and mixture of Jay-Z’s Jigga, Notorious BIG’s Biggie Smalls and 2Pac’s Makaveli. His influence extends to rappers such as Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y, a long-time supporters of Max. 

Max B fans all over are excited and awaiting his departure back to the streets. We miss the music and the man behind it all. Free Max and visit supportmaxb.com

 

JOAQUIN GARCIA & YVNG EV – STATE TO STATE (MUSIC VIDEO)

IMG_1604

Hailing out of the borough of Brooklyn, Joaquin Garcia and Yvng Ev are two young, vibrant lyricists. Through a shared love of Hip Hop, the pair found common ground for a friendship and the formation of a rap duo known as “Legacy.” While at a performance art summer camp, Joaquin Garcia made extremely strong connections with two artists from California, MCHI and $suaveee. This would eventually lead to Legacy becoming a bicoastal rap group resulting in frequent collaborations, meshing East and West Coast energy.

 

In the “State to State” music video, Joaquin Garcia and Yvng Ev show you the love is real out in California for two young vibrant lyricists straight out of Brooklyn.

Watch the video directed by Linda Tverdokhlebov below:

INSTAGRAM:

@lindatver @jg_nic333 @yvngev

 

FUCK THE STARBUCKS IN BED-STUY & HERE’S WHY:

phonto (2)

Last June, I had the displeasure of writing about a possible Starbucks opening on 774 Broadway, where the long-standing Fat Albert’s Warehouse stood for years. Fat Albert’s Warehouse is like a Brooklyn landmark standing on the border of Bed Stuy and Bushwick. I spoke my piece about why I wasn’t fucking with it and why its a “nail in the coffin” for both neighborhoods. Not too long after, the Bushwick Daily published an article about Fat Albert’s staying open and not closing for Starbucks. Many people sent me the link to this article thinking it was a win. Apparently these people never read the article because it stated that a Starbucks IN FACT would still be opening with Fat Albert’s also staying in business. For months, I’d pass the Fat Albert’s Warehouse with my mother as we walked from Woodhull Hospital to Sumner Projects. The original entrance facing the hospital was closed with their new entrance barely noticeable, pretty much a hole in the wall. Last month the Starbucks officially opened for business, leaving people in awe as it seemed to pop up overnight. It stands and operates out of the original entrance of Fat Albert’s Warehouse, with Fat Albert’s in the cut and a newly-opened sneaker store “Kicks USA” to the left of it. It has the set-up of a mini mall.

The “local-elected representatives” are still pushing this Starbucks as an amazing “opportunity” for low-income communities, giving job training to the oppressed nationalities, thus giving them the skills to work at other places and “investing” in the people of Bed Stuy and Bushwick. Another one of these Starbucks has opened in the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens prior to this location. Bed Stuy has been one of the neighborhoods that are viciously attacked by rapid gentrification. Every other block has new housing developments, many of them right across from Sumner, Tompkins and Marcy Projects. Despite developers, the sell-out politicians and their supporters believing that all these changes to the neighborhood are for the better, I still am asking “better for who?” Bed Stuy is STILL a low-income neighborhood. All the yuppies from the Midwest, the newly graduated college students, those who left Manhattan for the “hip, urban and cultured” borough of Brooklyn, and the wealth they brought with them HAVE YET TO BENEFIT the long-time residents of the Stuy and other gentrified hoods in Brooklyn or NYC as a whole. Bushwick Daily wrote another article last month about the Starbucks opening which included the thoughts of an owner of the “Bushwick Grind” cafe who said “maybe we get the opportunity to hire baristas that have gone through some of their training.” When asked about the gentrification affecting the Stuy and Bushwick, this person said “I know people have opinions about this area rapidly gentrifying. And we hear people’s opinions. But again, there’s always two views of how this can go.” Hmmm…. So you know there are concerns and what gentrification is doing to these neighborhoods but you’d rather play both sides? Well, I was quoted by AM New York in an article about this same exact issue surrounding these neighborhoods and this new Starbucks location. I found some really good info from a study used in this artcle actually. So for those who want to play the fence and act as if its just a coffee shop trying to disconnect it from a wider political issue, here’s the findings from these studies. I want you to look me in my eyes and tell me how beneficial this little Starbucks and gentrification as a whole has been for my people.

 

According to the  “Focus On Gentification” study by furmancenter.org:

 

  • While rents only increased modestly in the 1990s, they rose everywhere in the 2000s, most rapidly in the low-income neighborhoods surrounding central Manhattan.

  • Most neighborhoods in New York City regained the population they lost during the 1970s and 1980s, while the population in the average gentrifying neighborhood in 2010 was still 16 percent below its 1970 level.
  • One third of the housing units added in New York City from 2000 to 2010 were added in the city’s 15 gentrifying neighborhoods despite their accounting for only 26 percent of the city’s population.
  • Gentrifying neighborhoods experienced the fastest growth citywide in the number of college graduates, young adults, childless families, non-family households, and white residents between 1990 and 2010-2014. They saw increases in average household income while most other neighborhoods did not.
  • Rent burden has increased for households citywide since 2000, but particularly for low- and moderate-income households in gentrifying and non-gentrifying neighborhoods. • The share of recently available rental units affordable to low-income households declined sharply in gentrifying neighborhoods between 2000 and 2010-2014.
  • There was considerable variation among the SBAs classified as gentrifying neighborhoods; for example, among the SBAs classified as gentrifying, the change in average household income between 2000 and 2010-2014 ranged from a decrease of 16 percent to an increase of 41 percent.

 

 

Hmmm… okay. When a comrade told me I was quoted in the AM New York, I went to go search for the article. I was called a disgruntled blogger. I don’t feel any way about it but some raised it as possibly worded in a negative connotation. I won’t jump to conclusions as I do appreciate being highlighted in the article. One thing I do agree with is that I am disgruntled. I am very angry about what is happening to my neighborhood, my borough, my people and my city. What I intend to do with my blog is speak for those who are being displaced, those who are seeing the places they knew all their lives look entirely different, those who are treated as outsiders by their “new neighbors” who oftentimes call the cops on them, those who feel like they owe their votes and loyalty to politicians who lie and sell them out and so forth. I keep it real while yall deadass lie to my people about the true intent of what the fuck is going on. This is why I have this blog. This is why I do what I do.

 

NYC BLACK RADICAL HISTORY: HARLEM & BED-STUY RIOTS OF 1964 & THE CITY COLLEGE LOCK DOWN, 1969

IMG_0678

The Harlem & Bed Stuy “Race Riot” of 1964 –
On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act which banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin and ended segregation of public places. Two weeks after on July 15, 1964, 15-year old African American James Powell, was murdered by white off-duty police Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan. Powell’s murder enraged the Harlem community as another instance of a black person lost to police brutality. The first two days of protest regarding Powell’s death were peaceful in Harlem and other communities of New York City. On July 18th, protesters were at the police station in Harlem to call for the resignation or termination of Thomas Gilligan. The station was being guarded by police officers leading to some protestors throwing bricks, rock and bottles at the officers who walked through the crowd with nightsticks.

riots-harlem_1964

After word about the confrontation outside of the police station got back to different communities, riots began in then – black and Puerto Rican neighborhood, Bedford Stuyvesant. The riots lasted in Harlem and Bed Stuy for six days with businesses being vandalized and set on fire. It all came to a cease on July 22 with roughly 450 arrests, 100 people injured and 1 million dollars worth of property damage. The riots in both boroughs spurred off into a series of summer riots in different parts of the country, such as Rochester and Philadelphia. President Lyndon B. Johnson feared these riots would cause a rise in white backlash, putting a dent in his election hopes.

“One of my political analysts tells me that every time one occurs, it costs me 90,000 votes.” – President Lyndon B. Johnson

Harlem’s City College lockdown, 1969 –
On a rainy Spring morning in 1969, 200 Black and Puerto Rican students locked down the doors to City College in a victorious attempt for the City University of New York to allow open admissions for oppressed nationalities. A take over that only took 45 seconds lasted in a two-week lockdown of 17 buildings in the south Campus. Reactionary white students antagonized the students holding the lockdown.

“Whites were generally quite upset. Some yelled “Black bastards, go back to Africa,” but the answers they received were similar to “Charlie, your momma swings to “Charlie, your momma swings through trees and she’s as Black as me,” and “Why don’t you come into the gate and get your trashy sister off South Campus.” Obviously tempers snapped. As the poor whites rushed towards the gates, they were dismissed summarily by both the Black students’ security force and the College Security, which was powerless to remove the BPRSC but which did prevent some white students from getting hurt.” – The Harvard Crimson

Fearful of extreme violence happening on the campus due to prior racial violence, Mayor John V. Lindsay and other New York City political leaders gave in to opening the doors to Black and Latinx students. White students who were also unable to attend benefitted from open admissions. The students renamed it The University of Harlem.

“WHITE FLIGHT” & FEAR OF BLACK NEIGHBORS IN CANARSIE, 1990s

IMG_9738.JPG

In the summer of 1991, a white Canarsie TERRORIST by the name of Brian Fining was seized as the suspect of fire bombing of a real estate agency, which took place on July 27. The motive behind it: the real estate agency was showing and selling homes to black and latino buyers in south Brooklyn. Then 20-year old Fining grew up at 9312 Avenue M – an all-white block where residents said no home had been sold in 28 years. Fining lived four blocks away from the Fillmore Real Estate office at 9301 Flatlands Avenue he terrorized. The Fillmore Real Estate office was targeted several times by Brooklyn white supremacists for selling to black and Latino home buyers, as well as other non-white owned businesses in the area that was increasingly becoming less white. At least 13 incidents of racial violence was reported by police in the area that July.

Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 12.08.49 AM

In response to the CLEARLY racial motives behind the terror act and other incidents, 300 black demonstrators protested the incident to be met with racist hecklers who shook watermelons at them; Brian Fining was amongst them and participated in the racist counter-response. Marches and demonstrations were met with counter-responses led mostly by young white men holding signs saying “End Racism — Kill Al Sharpton”,” chanting “Go Home” at protestors.

1991 Brooklyn Anti-Racism March

Officials said other arrests could be made in connection with the firebombing. “We do not believe that there are a lot more people involved,” Mr. Brown said. “Our investigation is proceeding with the assumption that there’s at least one more suspect.”

He said Mr. Fining was being questioned about the earlier firebombing, which was preceded by a call warning that the company would be punished for selling and renting homes to minority families. Other Canarsie realty companies have received similar calls. (NY Times)

Indeed, another person was involved: Frank Scire, also from Canarsie. Fining ratted Scire out!

Mr. Fining identified Mr. Scire as a longtime friend living in the same neighborhood. On the night of the firebombing, he said, the defendant took him for a ride in a car, stopped at a gas station to fill a small bottle with gasoline and drove to the real-estate agency. Mr. Fining added that the defendant put a rag in the gas-filled bottle and told him to “throw this in the window.”

“I went over to the driver’s side,” Mr. Fining went on. “He lit it,” he said, testifying that the defendant lighted the firebomb. “I walked over there and put it inside the window.”

They drove away, he said, leaving the smoking bomb inside the office. – (NY Times)

Between 1990 to 2000, Canarsie saw its shift in racial demographics. Whites fled as an incoming number of West Indians moved in from East Flatbush and Brownsville. This “white flight” landed white Canarsie residents in Long Island, Staten Island and neighboring borough, Queens.

Mr. Palmer found his house in Brooklyn near the border of Flatlands and Canarsie. It is a two-family house that he jumped at so fast he says the real estate broker thought he was crazy. There were just a handful of black families on the block back then. But within a few years, he recalled, most of the white people up and left.

”I guess they see black people coming,” Mr. Palmer said, chuckling. ”And they run away from black people.”

In the decade between the 1990 and the 2000 censuses, the racial makeup of Canarsie changed more dramatically than that of any neighborhood in the city. The black population grew to nearly 60 percent from 10 percent. What many new residents, Caribbean immigrants, say they wanted was an integrated neighborhood; what they have ended up with is increasingly black. (NY Times)

The former white residents of Canarsie didn’t want to be amongst black people clearly. They fought until they could to keep their “white paradise” in a borough that is filled with black people. When they couldn’t fight any longer they decided to up and leave. The lengths that white supremacists go to…

 

 

 

“EARLY MORNING HUES” EP BY JAH HUEY (@JAH_HUEY)

IMG_8054

Jah Huey is a 20-year old lyricist from Brooklyn, NY out of the ORGornothing collective. Born in Crown Heights and raised in DC, Jah Huey was always submerged in music with a Hip Hop journalist for a father; blasting classic New York rap such as Nas, Biggie, Boot Camp Clik, Slick Rick, A Tribe Called Quest, and even the likes of Outkast and Ice Cube. The conditions of his environment led him astray although getting his mind right, moving back to NYC in 2012 and rediscovering the music of his childhood. This was enough for him to gain motivation to pursue music, join ORG and intern at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. “Early Morning Hues” is an 8-track lyrical and soulful, yet exciting listen. All tracks are performed solely by Jah Huey, except “Pray” featuring ORG Prophecy & Cliche of Sacred Gzz, which is now available on iTunes and Google Play.

“The EP “Early Morning Hues,” by Jah Huey, is a lyrical, energy-driven mix of the flow of classic New York hip-hop and elements of D.C style and lyricism. I have been putting together this EP song by song for the past 3 years. Some songs were written this year and some were written when I was still in high school, revising verses and instrumentals and cutting out songs thats didn’t make the cut. I am speaking from the perspective from what I’ve experienced growing up in Brooklyn and Southeast D.C as a young man. The concept behind it is being and loving your truest self in order to become who you want to be, understanding that life is about the ascension of energy, just like the sun in the morning. I want to inspire listeners to realize their aspirations are achievable no matter what they might be, as long as passion and love are put into it and they trust their paths. I want people to wake up in the morning, play this album and feel fired up, ascending with the sun, ready to own the day and create their own reality. And most of all I made this album to express myself. To really tell the world who Jah Huey is, and what I think and feel on a daily basis. Coming from a kid that used to censor himself and had no confidence in the path he wanted to pursue in life. I made this EP primarily to free myself, and hopefully I can free many other people in the process.” – Jah Huey

STREAM “EARLY MORNING HUES” EP BELOW:

Contact Jah Huey:

IG: Jah_Huey
FB: @JahHuey
SoundCloud: Jah Huey

Bill Clinton in Harlem: “The Second Renaissance?!”

IMG_8072

 

When Bill Clinton moved to Harlem after his presidency, he opened his office at 55 West 125th Street. He received a huge welcome from loyal Harlem Democrats but was also met with discontent from Harlem residents who definitely weren’t fond of his presence in the historic neighborhood known as a “Black Mecca.” Publications such as Vanity Fair and The Wall Street Journal were calling his arrival to Harlem a “resurrection” of the neighborhood and even the “Second Renaissance.”

Some are even calling it Harlem’s “second renaissance,” after the vibrant black cultural and civil-rights movement of the 1920s and ’30s. But detractors say the term “renaissance” is a misnomer: this time around it’s not about culture or ideology–it’s all about money. “I don’t know where people are coming from with this ‘second renaissance’,” says Murphy Heyliger, a Harlem native and owner of the boutique shop Harlemade. – (Newsweek, 2001)-

Gentrification was a huge thought for people who opposed the former President:

 At Clinton’s rally, a militant group of New Black Panthers carried signs that read CLINTON = GENTRIFICATION (the white takeover of black Harlem). Nearby, a man stood at a folding table with taped-up fliers that said rent is too damn high. (Newsweek, 2001)

In the 1920’s, Harlem became the home of the Harlem Renaissance, known as the New Negro Movement during that time.  The Harlem Renaissance, or New Negro Movement, was a political, artistic and cultural movement emerging out of emancipation and frustration with living under racist conditions. Approximately 6 million African Americans migrated out of the Southern part of the United States to other urban parts of the country. This migration gave fuel to the Harlem Renaissance leading to African American men and women alike, asserting themselves intellectually. Figureheads such as Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, W.E.B DuBois, Jessie Fauset, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Robeson and countless others made great contributions to the Harlem Renaissance with many of them having streets, schools, and other institutions named after them in their honor. Harlem was a new cultural, sociopolitical landscape; it was militant. Literature, music, stage productions, and visual art flourished as African Americans used creative expression to create a golden era that also developed the neighborhood of Harlem.

How can we compare this to Bill Clinton? The man once dubbed “the first Black president” because of his sax-playing appearance on “The Arsenio Hall Show?” The same man responsible for this:

When Clinton left office in 2001, the United States had the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Human Rights Watch reported that in seven states, African Americans constituted 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison, even though they were no more likely than whites to use or sell illegal drugs. Prison admissions for drug offenses reached a level in 2000 for African Americans more than 26 times the level in 1983. All of the presidents since 1980 have contributed to mass incarceration, but as Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson recently observed, “President Clinton’s tenure was the worst.” (The Nation, 2016)

Exactly what renaissance was it? I’m inclined to believe that this “renaissance” was synonymous to exactly what Harlem’s Clinton opposers were shouting: GENTRIFICATION. Ain’t no way in hell, can a white man resurrect a neighborhood built on Black excellence. To even use the word renaissance in reference to the Harlem Renaissance is a complete slap in the face to our ancestors. This renaissance led to affluent motherfuckers moving to Harlem because of property value spikes. A white ruling class man could never recreate or “continue” A BLACK MOVEMENT in a historically BLACK NEIGHBORHOOD.

The same 125th Street strip is now reminiscent of downtown Manhattan with even a Whole Foods that’s been opened since July. Harlem has been subjected to gentrifications with gentrifiers trying to rename a section of the neighborhood (Central Harlem), “SoHa”.

Danni Tyson, a real estate broker and a member of Manhattan Community Board 10, which covers Central Harlem, says the move is “pretty arrogant.”

“I totally disagree with it,” said Tyson.

“To me, personally, it’s like trying to take the black out of Harlem.

“Harlem is Harlem.”

Tyson said when she says she’s from Harlem people “know it exactly what it stands for.”

But, SoHa?

“It’s not something longtime residents use,” she said.

(DNAInfo, 2017)

The Clinton Foundation moved out of Harlem in 2011, ten years after Clinton’s move but what’s done has been done.