HOW RACIST HOUSING PRACTICES LAID FOUNDATIONS FOR A BLACK HARLEM

 

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In the middle of the 19th century,  the living conditions of Downtown Manhattan deteriorated, the prices were incredibly expensive and the neighborhoods were overcrowded. This led wealthy white people to Harlem for cheaper rents and more living space and opportunist real estate developers decided this was the time to beautify Harlem for the wealthy. As poor Puerto Rican, Jewish and Irish immigrants lived in tenements, shacks and old estates, white real estate developers decided to tear down the slums of Harlem to create luxury housing for the white elite. The real estate developers invested so deeply in Harlem for the white wealthy newcomers which made the value of other property in the area rise. In praise of Harlem, the New York Times wrote that the neighborhood was “one of the most densely populated and prosperous wards in the City,” with almost fifty thousand people, a police precinct, a public library, and four newspapers.”

As Harlem became a bastion for economic growth, the neighborhood was annexed by the city authorities in 1873 due to a nationwide financial crisis. Despite the annexation and financial crisis, Harlem saw new construction of sights such as Oscar Hammerstein’s opera house on 125th Street in 1889, the world’s largest gothic cathedral, St. John the Divine in 1892 on West 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue and finally the completion of the Columbia University campus on 116th Street and Broadway in 1897.4 Brownstones lined the blocks along West 110th Street ensuring that “great care is taken of the property to preserve its exclusive appearance,” in its advertisement to white wealthy New Yorkers. Costs of rent differed drastically in other parts of New York City filled with working-class residents between 10 to 12 dollars in contrast to the starting price of 80 dollars for upper-class white Harlem. The over-investment into Harlem’s new demographic backfired as the neighborhood saw hundreds of newly constructed homes unsold and thousands of apartments unoccupied. The real estate developers and owners of buildings could not convince the white elite to stay in Harlem after the over-investment in property for them specifically. This reality did not stop real estate agencies from trying to keep Harlem filled with white tenants. One example case of white owners and agents attempt to remove black tenants took place in April 1904:

It was the Hudson Realty Company that put the colored tenants out of the three houses. This concern had bought a tract of land fronting on 135th Street near Lenox Avenue. In order to increase the desirability of the property, which they were preparing to cut up in lots for sale to a builder, they bought the three tenements which are situated across the street from their own building lots, and which were then inhabited by negroes and put in white tenants.

The Hudson Realty Company shamelessly purchased the three tenements with the intent to evict the black tenants and rehouse white tenants within them. Rehousing them with white tenants was the Hudson Realty Company’s desperate attempt at pitching to racist white owners who were now looking away from Harlem to own or rent. A move to show power over black residents and how far the racist white elite would go to maintain Harlem as an upscale white neighborhood, the Hudson Realty Company ignited a fire in black residents that would yield results they weren’t prepared for.

Between the years of 1890 to 1900, the black population of Manhattan grew by 41 percent from 25,674 to 36,426.7 Behind Manhattan’s surge of black residents were the growing numbers of blacks leaving the South to escape segregation, racialized violence, poor living conditions and declining economic opportunities. Black people in downtown Manhattan were also facing violence from anti-black riots such as the one in Tenderloin, Minetta Lane and San Juan Hill. The construction of the Subway IRT Ninth-Avenue line in 1904 made the travel from downtown to uptown Manhattan easier by moving straphangers from City Hall to 145th Street in Harlem, making for another accessible way for black people in Downtown Manhattan to commute Uptown. When the black people of Harlem saw the black tenants displaced for white tenants by the Hudson Realty Company to “increase desirability” for prospective white owners and renters, a plan of retaliation went underway. Banking on the desperation of the real estate agents and landlords of these buildings, as well as the black working-class in downtown Manhattan looking for suitable housing, a man named Philip A Payton Jr sought to make sure black people would fill out the vacant homes, apartments and tenements in Harlem. Payton opened an office in 1900 which money from his custodian job to create housing opportunities for black people in Manhattan and published advertisements in an array of real estate publications. One of Payton’s advertisements read:

“COLORED/TENEMENTS WANTED/Colored man makes a speciality of managing colored tenements; references; bond. Philip A. Payton, Jr., agent and broker, 67 W. 134th”

Years later, Payton would see the housing contradictions between black and white people in Harlem. The frustration of the displacement of the black tenements led to the creation of the Afro-American Realty Company led by Philip A Payton Jr alongside other well-off African Americans. The Afro-American Realty Company began with an authorized capital of $50,000 and vowed to lease, buy and build flats and apartments for rental to black people in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn, so that any black person can live wherever in New York City if they had the money to pay for it.10 The men who started the movement were William Ten Eyek, Winston Dabney, Walter E. Handy, James A Garner, John Stevenson, Wilford H Smith, James C Thomas and of course, Philip A Payton Jr. James C. Thomas was the President of the company with Payton Jr as vice president and General Manager. In the prospectus of their company’s subscription magazine, they wrote:

The reason for the present condition of the colored tendency in New York City today is because of the race prejudice of the white owner and his white agent. When the owner becomes colored and his agent colored, then there is compelled to come an improvement of the condition.

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The Afro-American Realty Company explained that racist white owners and their agents could never improve the housing segregation in New York City because they simply did not want to. Racist white owners and agents did not believe that black people should be living or simply coexisting in upscale neighborhoods with the white elite. The mere presence of black residents would make the neighborhood look uninhabitable for the white renters as we saw with the Hudson Realty Company, and the Afro-American Realty Company sought to capitalize on the racism of white owners and agents also written in their prospectus magazine:

Race prejudice is a luxury, and like all other luxuries, can be made very expensive in New York City. With a cash capital of $50,000 the Afro-American Realty Company can turn race prejudice into dollars and cents. The very prejudice which has therefore worked against us can be turned and used for profit.

The Afro American Realty Company’s methodical plan to house black people in New York City wherever they desired worked. Housing discrimination implemented by the Hudson Realty Company and others with the same approach were not helping to occupy the very homes and buildings created for the prospective wealthy whites. Payton and his colleagues capitalized on the money the white owners were not receiving due to their racism, but not without retaliation.

In 1905, white tenants of three tenement houses in West 135th Street received dispossess notices from the Afro-American Realty Company.13A New York Times article wrote that “Philip A Payton Jr., who is chief organizer had obtained the title to the houses where they made their homes and decided to put out the white residents and put negroes instead.” Payton and Afro-American Realty Company gave these three white tenants the same fate in which the black tenements faced at the hands of Hudson Realty Company. In the same New York Times article is stated that:

Philip A Payton Jr in a few days will begin to fill the tenements on the other side of the street with negroes. The houses were bought, not from the Hudson Realty Company, because that concern had sold them long ago, but from Kassel and Goldberg, another real estate concern. Yesterday, they were sold again by Payton to a “client. No one doubts that the client is the Afro-American Realty Corporation.

Payton and his real estate partners sought to give the white residents, agents and owners a taste of their own medicine by putting the white tenants in the same exact position as the Hudson Realty Company did to the black residents of the dispossessed tenements. As Hudson Realty Company exerted their power to keep Harlem white, Payton and the Afro-American Realty Company returned the favor to assure that black people would live wherever they wanted in Harlem and that the neighborhood was now for them. The white residents of the tenements dispossessed by the Afro-American Realty Company were of working-class background and pleaded to keep their flats but were met with scrutiny by the workers of the company. This occurrence led to the sale and acquisition of the tenements that Hudson Realty Company originally dispossessed by the Afro-American Realty Company.

In 1906, Payton and his company ventured even more Uptown as they called for black residents for a three-story flat-house they purchased on 525 West 151st Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. This very flat-house was also filled with white residents living within. The purchase of the flat-house took place in late July of 1906 in which the white residents were notified that they would have to leave by August 1st. The advertisement from the Afro-American Realty Company calling for black residents was a sign posted right outside the flat-house with a white background and red letters reading:“Choice Four and Five-Room Apartments for Colored Tenants. Apply Janitor.”

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This very purchase confused and angered the white residents within the flat-house due to high-class apartment houses and private residences on the block not being sold instead. The news of the flat-house sale spread around the neighborhoods paired with the sign caused the residents to grow indignant. An investigation of the property at 525 West 151st Street showed that Herman Raabe Sons of 161 Boulevard Lafayette built the flat-house a year before the purchase and sold it to Louis Meyer of 320 Broadway as Louis Meyer eventually sold it to the Afro-American Realty Company. Louis Meyer introduced Payton to the woman who worked as the janitor in the flat-house as “the agent for the new owners of the house here. He’s going to get all the white families out and put negro families in their places.” The woman went to tell all the white families who occupied the flat the bad news as Louis Meyer tasked her to nail the sign that called for prospective black residents to inquire about the newly available flats. The janitor, Mrs. Roth, refused to nail the sign as Meyer insisted he’ll have someone else, a black man, nail it instead. According to accounts from fifteen white flat-house families, Payton greeted them with the August 1st move-out date: “You’ll have to get out by Aug. 1. We’ve got black families to take your place.” Soon enough word around the neighborhood spread so fast that even the Herman Raabe Sons found out the fate of the flat-house they built:

It’s a trick to make us buy them out,” they declared. “We own other property in the same block, and anybody with common sense can see that if negroes move into that apartment building our values will be ruined. It’s an outrage—a shame. We’ll fight it to a finish.”

The other real estate company, Shearer & Ginsburg, shared the same sentiment as Herman Raabe Sons and vowed to fight for the properties in the neighborhood to remain filled with white residents. White real estate companies viewed the Afro-American Realty Company’s acquisition of properties as a conspiracy to bring down their property values with black residents. These real estate companies would not acknowledge how their racist practices led to the Afro-American Realty Company’s creation and bid to house black residents all over Harlem. Payton stated that what the company aimed to do was “stop forced colonization.”

Payton Jr’s successful housing of black residents earned him the nickname “Father of Harlem,” but his tendency to acquire more properties with a failure to house black residents in all of them led him to suffer the same fate of the racist owners and agents he capitalized on. Legal troubles began to plague Payton as he continued his real estate venture. By 1907, Payton was arrested for fraud in a civil suit “brought against him and his company by Charles J. Crowder, acting for himself and as assignee for other stockholders in the company, to recover money paid for capital stock of the company and to have stock subscriptions cancelled.” Crowder’s complaint against Payton accused him of running the Afro-American Realty Company with the intent to deceive the general public and black people. Crowder alleged that amongst of Payton’s fraudulent statements were that “$100,000 of the capital stock of the company had been paid in; that the company was in a position to do away with negro colonization in the City of New York; that the company was in a position to double the interest paid by savings banks; that it would pay from 7 to 10 percent dividends on every dollar invested in its stock; that the company held five-year leases on ten flats, while as a matter of fact all the leases contained sixty and ninety day cancellation clauses; that the company owned four five-story flats valued at $125,000, while as a matter of fact the company held an equity in four five-story flats worth about $10,000. Crowder also alleges that Payton concealed the fact that $50,000 of the stock of the company was issued to Payton and his associates fraudulently.” 

Payton retorted the claims of fraud brought onto him by saying that “the whole affair is a spite action brought against me by the former counsel of our company and several dissatisfied stockholders.” What would be left of the Afro-American Realty Company crumbled in the recession of 1907-1908. By this time, Harlem was already developed into the African American enclave as white property owners continued to resist, forming block associations and insisting on only renting or selling to whites. Organizations such as the Save Harlem Committee, the Protective Association for 130th to 132nd Streets, Anglo-Saxon Realty and the infamous Harlem Property Owners Improvement Association all fought to no avail to keep Harlem white. One tactic used by these organizations were petitions to keep black owners from renting to black people in Central Harlem led by a man named John G. Taylor. Amongst other tactics he used were:

moral suasion to prevent other deals, opposing policy changes that allowed Negroes to use the New York Public Library branch at 103 West 135th Street, approving of mass evictions of blacks, working for the resegregation of the Sixth Avenue and Ninth Avenue elevated trains, hiring detectives to investigate new arrivals, and advocating a twenty-four-foot-high fence along West 136th Street to keep blacks from moving north.

The employment of all these tactics showed the desperation of white Harlem residents and how fearful they were as they saw the transformation of Harlem into a black enclave from the stoop of their brownstones. The Harlem white owners and their agents invested into did not come into fruition as they hoped. The peculiar circumstances of racial prejudice and economics would continue to transform Harlem into a highly-populated black neighborhood. Years before World War 1, racial segregation made “vacancy rates in black neighborhoods elsewhere in Manhattan drop to the extraordinarily low rate of 3 percent by 1914.” Black and white landlords alike were more than willing to rent to black people in Harlem as they were able to pay the rent. Soon enough, the black exodus of the South, known as the Great Migration led to another spike of black population within the neighborhood Harlem. By 1916, an estimate of 6 million Southern Black Americans would migrate North to escape segregation, racial violence, and economic deprivation. Between the years of 1920 to 1930, Harlem’s black population increased to 120,000. with the white population decreasing by the equivalent amount. With an influx of black people from the South, black from other parts of New York City and blacks who immigrated from the Caribbean, Harlem’s culture would shape into one yet seen throughout the diaspora.

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THE ICONIC, CULTURAL STREET GAME OF SKULLY/SKELLY TOPZ

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Prior to the advanced technology we have today, the kids of New York City played heavily in the streets. Whether it was freeze tag, manhunt, running around in the Johnny pump, double dutch or hopscotch, city kids always found creative ways to play. The game of skully is one of the most iconic street games New York City has seen. Since the 1950s, kids of New York City have been melting crayon, clay or wax into bottle caps to create their playing pieces. With chalk, players would draw out the skully board on the sidewalk or asphalt:


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Below are the rules of skully:

Make a skully board with chalk on a patch of available and relatively smooth street or sidewalk. The board consists of 13 numbered boxes, 1 through 12 on the periphery of the board, and a box labeled 13 in the center surrounded by a “dead man’s zone” or “skull.”
Start at a line outside the skully box and aim for the “1” box, flicking your bottlecap with your finger. If you get it in (without it touching any line), you keep your turn and shoot for the next box. You can also advance a box by hitting the cap of an opposing player. If you’re close to another player’s piece, you can try to blast the piece halfway down the block with your own. In some neighborhoods, you can replace your cap with a special heavy one (like from a juice or peanut butter jar) for this purpose, though you couldn’t do this if someone calls “no blasting allowed.”

After going from 1 to 13, you have to return, going from 13 to 1. After completing the full journey, you shoot back into 13 and then navigate the “skull,” shooting your piece in the forbidden “dead areas” of the skull while declaring your new powers (“I am a killer diller”).

From this point on, you hunt the other players. Only you (or other killers) can safely go within the skull. If you hit another player (3 times consecutively), they’re out of the game. If they hit you, they become a killer too (or, if you decide beforehand, they’re out of the game). The last person left wins.

Thought not as popular, skully still remains a cultural staple in New York City. Check out some images of skully and a very hood tutorial of the game below:

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“A SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY!” EP – CHALICE

 

IMG_4987Out of every few artists, there’s always one artist that is well-rounded in style, flow, delivery, song creation, and lyrical content. Chalice is one of those who can shift and manipulate multiple sub-genres to match his energy. With “A Surprise Birthday Party!” EP, Chalice takes on the current mainstream sound and jazzes it up with his natural Scorpio flair.

Stream it below:

VERNDOLLA$ – AUGUST (EP)

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Verndolla$ is a 20-year old rapper representing Queens. His debut EP “August” is a 12-track experience with production from AEBeats, Lezter, Cxdy, Regreting and a host of others. Amongst the standout tracks on the EP are “Run With It,” “Really Like Me” featuring Kota the Friend, “Catch Up” featuring Kalonji Law$. and “Outta Pocket” featuring Purp. Stream “August” below:

 

 

REMEMBER WHEN TWO TECH CAPITALISTS THOUGHT A VENDING MACHINE WOULD MAKE BODEGAS OBSOLETE?

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Remember when those two dudes, Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan, who used to work at Google thought they were going to make bodegas and mom-and-pop shops obsolete with a glorified ass vending machine called “BODEGA?” They even had the nerve to use a cat as the company’s logo to represent the heart of all bodegas, the bodega cat. We all know bodegas to be the most convenient place in the hood for us to buy food, drinks, snacks, household items and anything we may need. Bodegas have been a New York City staple since the influx of immigrants from Latin America to the United States.  For people in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, bodegas hold the same significance with bodega translating to grocery store in Spanish. There are also the Arab-owned delis that are prevalent here in NYC. This “Bodega” startup  was met with huge backlash and many took offense to these two tech capitalists trying to rid us of these cultural staples that we adore while adopting the name simultaneously.

In an interview with Fast Company in 2017, McDonald had this to say:

I asked McDonald point-blank about whether he’s worried that the name Bodega might come off as culturally insensitive. Not really. “I’m not particularly concerned about it,” he says. “We did surveys in the Latin American community to understand if they felt the name was a misappropriation of that term or had negative connotations, and 97% said ‘no’. It’s a simple name and I think it works.

Exactly who did you survey because it damn sure wasn’t Papi who owns these stores. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t appreciate being put out of business by some mamaguevos that used to work for Google who think putting 100 things in a vending machine is equivalent to the work they put in 7 days a week.  After all that backlash, McDonald and Rajan got the message clearly and relaunched their little vending machine startup as “Stockwell” and it has none of the Latin American hood flair that our bodegas have. How McDonald and Rajan even mustered the courage to do this foolishness is beyond me. 

There’s no way you can replace that feeling of just walking out your crib for a quick run. Whether you want a beef patty, chopped cheese or a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll with an Ari, and some papers to go with it, Papi or Ahky (no pork bacon) got you. Depending how long you lived in a neighborhood or whether you grew up there, you’ve built relationships with the people who work in the bodega. There’s an unmatched level of respect. Let’s not ever get that confused again. 

 

 

RAP LOOKS THAT WE LOVED GROWING UP

Hip Hop 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.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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Jay-Z and Mya in the North Carolina Tarheels Jordan jerseys in the “Best Of Me” video
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Only Killa could make the USA flag look redeemable in his Jeff Hamilton Diplomats custom. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BURNT BRIDGES & AGGRAVATION – CORDELL WATTS

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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

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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.

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(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

 

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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