Tag 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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Filed under african american, chocolate city, culture, d.c., gentrification, opinion, politics, race, washington dc, white folks

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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Filed under african american, black, black history, children, culture, d.c., opinion, society, youth

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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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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Happy “I’ze Married Now!” Day to All My Black DC Gays and Lesbians

I’m straight, but i’m no hater.  I want to give a congratulations shout out to all of the gay and lesbian folks in Washington, DC who can now get married.  The Washington Post reports that couples lined up beginning at 6 a.m. at the D.C. district courthouse, vying to be among the first same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses.  Good for them. Whether it’s mixed race couples, couples from different sides of the tracks, or people who get married and everyone knows they shouldn’t…we all deserve to choose who we walk down the isle with.

When we start picking and chosing who gets what rights and who deserves what freedoms, we get onto a slippery slope.  There was a time when African Americans were not free to live where they wanted to live, marry who they loved, or just go have a burger at the local diner just because of the social norms and stereotypes that helped shape American law.  Discrimination was  the law.  Treating one group as lesser than another was the law.  I’m so glad to say that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation when it comes to marriage is no longer the law here in the District.

PS: You better make sure that marriage comes with same-sex divorce too.  I’m just saying.  LOL

Photo: Michael K. Cole & Jamil Smith Cole. The two jumped over the broom Atlanta Georgia in 2009.

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Why I Don’t Like Today’s Article in the Washington Post Express on Mike Epps

I read the Washington Post Express a lot in the mornings.  It’s got just the right mix of pithy entertainment and actual journalism.  Well, today I was in for a real Post-Racial treat.

I don’t know who you are, Roxana Hadadi, but I’ve got to tell you that I think your article to day on Mike Epps was terrible and had some serious problems.  Here’s what I didn’t like:

  • You mention a story where 2 movie reviewers at a screening for “Resident Evil: Extinction” think that Omar Epps is the movie instead of Mike.  That played into the “All black people look alike” myth.  You note that they are cousins.  That’s no excuse.  They look Nothing alike.  Nothing.  Omar doesn’t even do comedy.You even say, “…Epps is inevitably the guy you immediately laugh at– even though you may first mistake him for his more dramatic relative”.  Huh?  I’m sorry, no one is mixing those two brothers up.
  • The title of this article “Familiar Stranger” made me think of “stranger danger”.  So is this black man scary, like a stranger?
  • You say that he takes stereotypes about the “funny brother” and “drop-kicks them back in your face, making them absurdly believable wile also hysterically humorous”.  Basically your saying that he does the stereotype so well that it’s hysterical.  How can you flip something but then end up being the embodiment of it?
  • You move on to Epps’s role in “The Hangover”: “Oh, and those comments on roofies — “Just the other day, me and my boy was wondering why they even call them roofies. … Why not floories, right? Cuz when you take them, you’re more likely to end up on the floor than the roof” – may be horribly inappropriate, but they’re also guiltily funny. They’re not as divisive or controversial as the kind of stuff fellow comedians-turned-actors Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle have said, but in a way, Epps — who performs Saturday at DAR Constitution Hall — has a goofy, universal appeal that rivals Rock’s and Chappelle’s natural charisma.”

    First of all, are you saying that it’s not controversial to make fun of roofies?  It’s the damn date rape drug!  Then you call two very intellectual Black comedians “divisive”.  I really, really would love to hear your explanation for the use of that word.  What do you find divisive about Rock and Chappelle.  Perhaps their jokes about race and race relations?  Divisive is a whole lot of things in this “Post-Racial” world, huh?  Question: Would you call Richard Pryor divisive as well?  You say Epps has a universal appeal, but I think Rock and Chappelle are even more universal in their appeal.  Of course all of this is just my opinion.  Roxanna, you are entitled to yours as well, I just think you’re off.Also you mention Epps’s joke about getting money from white friends and never having to pay it back.  Isn’t that a divisive joke?

I dont’ understand where you were going with this article, Roxana. It seems a bit, well…divisive.

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Filed under african american, black, black man, culture, d.c., funny, hollywood, opinion, race, stereotype, washington, washington dc

Bad Salt and The Chicago “Hawk” might be in DC looking for Obamas

Good Lord, it’s cold outside today.  I think Chicago’s famous “Hawk” has come to DC because it missed the Obamas.  If you have infants or small children, you might want to stay inside.  It is “killing people” cold today!!

Oh, and while I’m talking about weather, will somebody please get Fenty to change DC government’s cheap ways and buy some chemical salt to treat the streets with before the next round of snow (and ice)?!?!?  This cheap, “fresh from the shores of Myrtle Beach”-looking salt messes up paint jobs and causes rust.  Is it salt or sand???  I don’t know.  What I do know is that it does more to wear away the black top on the streets than it does to melt away snow.  I hit a pot hole yesterday that was so big you would have thought a backhoe dug it out.

Let’s get some better salt?  Gentrification and taxes from the condo boom have brought in enough money by now to make such a reasonable change possible.

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