Category Archives: d.c.

Things Still Untouched by Gentrification in DC

1. “The Shrimp Boat” in NE.

2. Fat Face Bar-B-Que – I see a white person or two in there from time to time, but hey that’s always been the case.  Who doesn’t love delicious soul food?

3. The Open Mic Scene on U Street – The whole sad, non-rhyming white poetry thing hasn’t over taken the “Def Poetry Jam” style of most black poetry.

4. Go-Go Music

5. Marshall Heights – I don’t care how many condos they tried to put over there.  Still Marshall Heights.

6. Minnesota Ave Metro station at night

7. Horace and Dickie’s – Until they sell fried tofu or an avocado and fish sandwich…they are untouched.  LOL

8. Safeway in Petworth – All I can say is yuck.

9. The Homelessness Problem has not improved – Shouldn’t it get better with gentrification?

10. Single Black Women complaining about not being able to find a good man – What about all these good, employed white boys walking around, sis?

This is not a comprehensive list.  So much more could be said.  Wash DC people, what would you add to this list.

Update: I stand corrected.  The Shrimp Boat IS in NE. I placed it in SE.  My bad, Yall!

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Gentrification: White where there was no White in Chocolate City.

Swirl or Twist.  That’s what most ice cream, frozen custard, or frozen yogurt places call it when your vanilla and chocolate frozen goodness is twirled together in harmony.  Yummy.

That isn’t Gentrification.  It displaces people and cultures.  Fault should not be laid on the persons staking their claim in areas previous devoid of Caucasian population.  Really, it’s just politics and finance.

I wrote about this a few years back and now TBD (ABC 7/Newschannel8) has quoted me.  I’m flattered.

“I rarely see an African American face enjoying the coffee culture,” Hello, Negro wrote shortly after the shop’s opening. “Maybe the long term residents aren’t into Rishi Tea. Maybe the crackheads hanging out in the LeDroit Park Playground across the street are too amazed at the sight of this former-corner store turned soho style coffee establishment to inquire about the fine pastries. The juxtapositioning is striking. The locals call it LeDroit, they call it ‘Bloomingdale.’”

Honestly, gentrification in Washington, DC as I’ve seen in the last 11 years has been very entertaining to watch.  From avid runners out at the crack of dawn avoiding crack heads (3 months ago, I saw this white guy jogging down Michigan Ave NE barefoot.  No lie.  Crazy.) to white women walking home from the metro late at night in neighborhoods I wouldn’t roller skate through, there is a lot to observe.  I think of it as my own little reality tv show featuring short pieces on gentrification.  We’ll at least there are grocery stores, improved metro stations, and improved housing (that most can’t afford) where there were none.

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Black Women Opening Up to the Idea of Dating White Men

When I first arrived in DC, I would say that it was extremely rare to see an interracial couple composed of a Black Woman and a White Man.  An Oddity of sorts.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for it.  Other than a few visions of Master/Slave forced relations that pop into my head at the initial thought, I think it’s a win win.

In the last 2 years, on the streets of DC, I’ve noticed a huge rise in the number of Black Women and White Men I see coupled up.  I’m talking young, old, professional, yuppies, bohos, BMW drivers, and pickup truck enthusiasts.  Blacks and whites of all different strata.  I know Essence did an article on this topic maybe a year ago, so maybe people took that as a permission slip.  I’m just wondering, Hello Negro family, if you’re seeing what I’m seeing and what you think about it? Does this form of interracial dating carry the stigma that Black Man/White Woman dating does for some in the African American community?

Honestly, I’m real tried to hearing the “I can’t find a man” swan song from African-American professional women who have never tried online dating or interracial dating (two things I usually recommend when I hear people bitching about their singleness).  Time to get down with the swirl, Ladies.

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Complete this Sentence: Psychologists told Black People to stop spanking their kids and now…

Finish this sentence for me, people:  “Psychologists told Black People to stop spanking their kids and now…”  You can leave a comment below.

Why do I ask?  Crazy “youngins” on the metro this morning.

If you live in DC, you know that African-American kids can act a dignified fool on the metro trains.  I blame this on the fact that many black parents stopped spanking their kids and strayed from the time-tested methods of discipline that worked for our foremothers and forefathers.

Do you think Martin Luther King was put in time out?  Did Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis have to sit there and think about what they’d done…and then write a letter to their victim as punishment?  I would venture to say that many a famous negro of yesteryear received proper spankings.  I’m not talking extension cords, big wooden boards,  and other out of the ordinary stuff.  I’m not talking about anything that leaves bruises or welts.  Spanking with a hand or belt, NOT beatings.  You can disagree with me and if you think it’s abuse, you’re entitled to your opinion.  As am I.

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The Set UP: If you think the GOP and Tea Party Wins Are Bad for Obama, Think Harder

I have 2 words for everyone who thinks that the GOP and Tea Party victories in the 2010 Election are bad for Obama.  BILL CLINTON

Everyone talks a big game.  It’s when game times comes that we see who the real champions are.  It’s game time, but as they say “the game doesn’t change, just the players”.  Have we seen this team on the right wing bench before?

In Bill Clinton’s day, the GOP said they could do a better job.  American put them in the game.  They shut the government down and talked a lot of bull.  That veto pin was really busy.  In the end, America realized that ole Bill Clinton wasn’t that bad in comparison.  People rejected the GOP’s efforts and Clinton got a second term.  OH, and America got a budget surplus.  We could use a surplus right now, right?

Now, I’m not saying that the GOP of old was absolutely terrible.  The fact that both Clinton and the right had to move to the center helped in many ways.   I should also note that there was much collaboration and cooperation at that time.  We haven’t seen much of that between the parties during this administration.

My prediction is that the GOP will be challenged not only by the left, but also by the Tea Party whom they’ve catered to and made promises to.  If they can’t live up to the hype they’ve created, I predict that it will help Obama win re-election in 2012.  Their candidate will be associated with their failure.

Hopefully, those representing the GOP/Tea Party will be held accountable and not allowed to sell out to corporations and special interests.  With regard to reigning in spending…good luck with that.  Social Security is killing us, but it’s still a sacred cow.

Oh, let’s add to this that I don’t see any right-wing contenders for the Presidency (as of this date) who could win over conservative liberals and is popular with independents.  Palin doesn’t count.

In the end…these election results could end up helping President Obama win re-election in 2012.  There is always a set up, people.  Always.

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Wale, you didn’t know what Black Pride meant? Comeon, Son!

Wale is not getting a pass for me on this bull for one reason, stupidity.  I really hope this is a misunderstanding, but since I don’t know and it sounds typical…I’m running it.

DCist“The Washington Blade reports on a potentially very ugly turn of events for rising homegrown rap star Wale. It seems the musician was originally slated to perform at this year’s DC Black Pride festival, part of the annual Capital Pride events, but has since pulled out, claiming that he “didn’t know Black Pride was a gay-related event when he agreed to appear.”"

That was dumb.

Gay pride  and gay rights are not new concepts. Everybody has heard about the gay rights movement, unless they haven’t regularly keep up with news for the last decade.   Wale seems a little more cultured than that.  I’m not buying it.  He would have missed a lot of stuff that is in the news that has shown up in his raps to miss all that.  The gay marriage debate in the last few years alone has been big news.  Nope, no pass.

Did he think it was an Afrocentric celebration?  Um, and we all know Wale isn’t the person who books his own gigs.  Therefore, his management is dumb too, apparently.  To both parties:  If you know that you are going to come off looking like the classic homophobic rapper, wouldn’t you just avoid booking the gig in the first place and putting your client in the position.  Wale, you need to consider a change of staff on this one, son.  Really.

(Just checked out Wale’s Twitter.  Lots of talk of rumors and such.  So…if you didn’t say it, “my dude” just flat out say that you didn’t.  Have your staff address it on your official page and end the rumors.  The Washington Post has posted about his wishy washiness on these rumors.)

On another note, gay people have green money too.  Beyonce knows that.  Kathy Griffin knows that.  The Mystics WNBA here in DC know that.  Will Smith knew that after 6 Degrees of Separation.  This might have been a missed opportunity for Wale to defy the status quo.

(shout out to Dale for pointing this out.)

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A Day in DC: Part 2 – Photos of Health Care Bill Protesters at the Capitol

At the NMAI, I found out that you can’t bring protest signs into Smithsonian buildings when a female protester was stopped by security at the door and told she had to leave her signs outside.  Was she shocked?  Yes.  Was it funny?  Yes.  When we left the museum there were at least 20 signs outside.  A security guard had to go out and move them (photos below).  Duh!  It’s a government building.  You can’t just set up a mini protest outside the door.

2nd RevolutionAt the urging of the friend I was with, we wondered up to the Capitol where a few hundred people had gathered to protest the health care bill (and democracy in my opinion).  I can sum up what I saw very simply: Mob Mentality.  One of the craziest things was a guy selling 2nd US Revolution flags. I asked him what the flag meant if he had a website.  He told me it was for the 2nd Revolution and he gave me his card.  I really wonder if he’s just making money off the fringe element in the Right or if he’s serious.  Here are my other observations:

  • I saw 4 black people participating out of hundreds.  95% of the rest of the crowd was white people who were of the Boomer generation or older (a few hispanics and asians sprinkled in).  It made me wonder whether they would have the same feelings if they had cancer or some other disease and experienced issues with coverage.
  • Out of the 4 black people, there was a guy selling flags, including yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” flags.  He was down there representing Capitalism, not the Tea Party.  Good for you bro, make that money.
  • I would break this group into a few factions:  The Stupid, The truly faithful far Right, Racists who are mad that a Black man won the Presidency, The Brainwashed, and The Fear Mongers.
  • When they saw the Presidential motorcade appear they started shouting, “There he is!” and “There’s Obama!”.  There was lots of booing and then they all started running to the east side of the Capitol where the motorcade was passing.  It was kinda scary actually.  It felt like a lynch mob.  I was not surprised to hear that some of them yelled “nigger” and “faggot” at congressmen that day as well.
  • Many of the signs were outrageous and didn’t make sense.  One of them said “Health Care is a Privilege, Not a Right.”.

I’ve created a gallery of some of my health care reform bill protester photos below:

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Health Care Bill Protesters Call Rep Lewis the N-word and Spit on Rep. Cleaver

I went down to the National Mall on Saturday and witnessed the Health Care Bill Protesters first hand (posting photos soon).  They were in rare form, but thank God no one spit on me or called me “nigger”.  I was spared, apparently.   Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Barney Frank, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver were not as lucky.

Salon.com: On Saturday, as a small group of protesters jammed the Capitol and the streets around it, the movement’s origins in white resistance to the Civil Rights Movement was impossible to ignore. Here’s only what the mainstream media is reporting, ignoring what I’m seeing on Twitter and left wing blogs:

  • Civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis was taunted by tea partiers who chanted “nigger” at least 15 times, according to the Associated Press (we are not cleaning up language and using “the N-word” here because it’s really important to understand what was said.) First reported on The Hill blog (no hotbed of left-wing fervor), the stories of Lewis being called “nigger” were confirmed by Lewis spokeswoman Brenda Jones and Democratic Rep. Andre Carson, who was walking with Lewis. “It was like going into the time machine with John Lewis,” said Carson, a former police officer. “He said it reminded him of another time.”
  • Another Congressional Black Caucus leader, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, was spat upon by protesters. The culprit was arrested, but Cleaver declined to press charges.
  • House Majority Whip James Clybourn told reporters: “I heard people saying things today that I have not heard since March 15, 1960, when I was marching to try to get off the back of the bus.”
  • There were many reports that Rep. Barney Frank was called a “faggot” by protesters, but the one I saw personally was by CNN’s Dana Bash, who seemed rattled by the tea party fury. Frank told AP: “It’s a mob mentality that doesn’t work politically.”
  • Meanwhile, a brick came through the window at Rep. Louise Slaughter’s Niagara Falls office on Saturday (the day she argued for her “Slaughter solution” to pass health care reform, though it was rejected by other Democrats on the House Rules Committee).

On Thursday MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews grilled tea party Astroturf leader Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity about supporters who taunted a man with Parkinson’s disease at a tea party gathering in Ohio last week.

That video of the guy with Parkinson’s is HORRIBLE.  These Health Care Bill Protesters and Tea Party members should be ashamed of themselves.  Everyone has a right to protest and let their voice be heard, but racial slurs, spitting on people and mocking the sick is mob mentality.  How is Fox News going to spin this?  I’m sure they will find a way.

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A Day in DC, Part 1: Michelle’s Jimmy Choos and Black Indians

What a day I’ve had!  I learned about African Native American history.  I saw First Lady Michelle Obama’s Jimmy Choos on display.  I took pictures and video of the Tea Party protest of Health Care Reform on the steps of the capital and was told about the 2nd Revolution on the way.  I witnessed a very moving anti-war demonstration near the Washington Monument.  And…I found out that the protesters are really bold and don’t like the fact that you can’t take protest signs into the Smithsonian buildings [duh!!].  I wasn’t there when the Tea Party crowd was shouting “nigger” at Rep. John Lewis by the way. I’m going to have to break this post into a few parts.

It all began as a usual day just hanging out on the National Mall.  I was very excited to visit the The National Museum of the American Indian for the “IndiVisible” exhibit.

Within the fabric of American identity is woven a story that has long been invisible—the lives and experiences of people who share African American and Native American ancestry. African and Native peoples came together in the Americas. Over centuries, African Americans and Native Americans created shared histories, communities, families, and ways of life. Prejudice, laws, and twists of history have often divided them from others, yet African-Native American people were united in the struggle against slavery and dispossession, and then for self-determination and freedom. For African-Native Americans, their double heritage is truly indivisible.

It is a beautiful exhibit and I’m so glad I got to see it. If you’re in DC, check it out.  Before we got to NMAI, I went over to the American History Museum to see Michelle Obama’s Inauguration Ball dress.  Lovely!  Here are the photos I took:

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Harriet Tubman Could Write and So Can I

One of Philadelphia’s and the nation’s leading collectors of African-American artifacts has given the Smithsonian over historic artifacts owned by former slave, abolitionist, and Underground Railroad Conductor Extrodinaire Harriet Tubman to a to be a part of the National Museum of African-American History scheduled to open in 2015 here in Washinton, DC.

Charles Blockson, curator emeritus of the Charles Blockson Afro-American collection at Temple University, received 39 personal items from the estate of Underground Railroad Conductor Harriet Tubman from Tubman’s great-niece, who willed them to Blockson two years ago because she believed that he, Blockson says, would know what to do with them.  source

When I took a look at some of the photos posted of the items in the Tubman collection, one of the struck me in a way that I can’t explain.  You see, in her hymnal Harriet Tubman Davis wrote her name.  She would write her own name!  She didn’t leave and X as her mark and this was more than a meer scribble or attempt at writing.  I saw the handwriting of a woman who shouldn’t have been able to clearly create letters with pen, let alone bring hundreds of slaves to freedom.  I felt for someone who knew the true power of being able to read and write.  It made me think a little more about the words I’m able to write.  And about the fact that it is a privilage that my ancestors fought for.

I write here, on this blog.  I’m not a freedom fighter in the way that Harriet was, but I do want to make others think.  Perhaps I can even inspire or motivate others to action.  Perhaps something here will make someone’s mind a little more free.  Make them question and reflect on race, racism, blackness, and our community.  I know that words, typed, written, or read…they have power.  Thank you Harriet, for that little reminder written in a church hymal.  They are a blessing to me.

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