Tag Archives: gentrification

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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I had a Black moment at the Lincoln Memorial

It’s interesting enough being a Black woman in city “formerly know as” Chocolate City.  If you live here you know it’s being rapidly gentrified.  No surprise there.  However, there is one place in the city that has never been fully “chocolatized”.  That is the National Mall.  You can thank the tourists for that.  It’s funny, I’ve talked to African Americans who were born here who have never ventured down except for school trips back in the day.

Unless Barack Obama is being elected, there is a Civil Rights march reenactment, or so other event that is highly attractive to black folk, the Mall is very vanilla. Don’t get me wrong…I love white folks too.  I’m happy about the visitors to the Mall from out of town spend here in the District and what not…blah blah.  I just find it funny that when I go to the Smithsonian museums, stroll the mall, or visit the monuments…I see a handful of black people (many of them working security in the buildings).  However I can walk 10 min in any direction (except the direction of Georgetown and George Washington U) and the city is Chocolate and balanced again.  It’s like going to Virginia.  lol

Anyway, I had a “Black moment” at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday.  I walked there from Union Station…don’t ask me why, just wanted to walk.  I saw about 6 other black people during my walk (no lie).  There were hundreds of people out there, mind you (I saw like 6 softball games, lots of people exercising, and tons of tourist groups).  I get to the top of the stairs at Lincoln Memorial and watch for 10 min to see how many people notice the “I HAVE A DREAM” engraving noting Martin Luther King’s name and the date of the march.  It notes the place on the stairs where he gave his historic speech.  Guess how many people noticed it.  2 children.

Now, to their credit it’s not as pronounced as it should be, in my opinion.  Hey, I think Obama should do something about that.

I remember when I first visited the Memorial that spot on the steps was something I looked for.  The image of King standing on those steps looking out at thousands gathered in the name of civil rights is burned into my psyche as an African American.  I wasn’t looking for that engraving, didn’t even know it was there.  I just wanted to stand in the place and look out over the reflecting pool and think about that day.   Why?  Cause I’m black, and moments like that mean a lot to me.

Maybe that’s why not many people noticed the black history upon which they stood yesterday.   Maybe I shouldn’t expect them to care, but I do.  I find that I’m having more and more of these moments in this so-called “post-racial” America.

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Filed under african american, black women, civil rights, culture, d.c., gentrification, obama, opinion, race, society, washington dc, white folks

Gentrification in DC: Can a sista find a decent beauty supply store?

I spent at least an hour yesterday trying to find a decent, open beauty supply store catering to African American women and their hair care needs in NW Washington DC. Couldn’t be found, People!!

Now I know you’re saying, “Sista, why are you blaming gentrification??”. Well, simply put…the clientele has changed thus the products and services available (and the times when they are available too) has changed. That’s what happens with gentrification. Hell, that’s what happens with change. Things change, this is life.

There is a great beauty supply on Georgia Ave near Howard University (was closed) and another across from the Giant on P St NW (closed). Where did I start my search? Columbia Heights (at the Target. They didn’t have what I was looking for and a “black” beauty suppy would.). No beauty supply stores in columbia heights?? Oh, I wonder why. Sisters, let me know if you have any suggestions.

Do I really have to go to PG county to get what I need, really? Where is a Sally’s when you need one. Dag.

Next thing you know i won’t be able to find any Chinese Food (which is good cause I don’t need to eat that), no Soul Food resturants, and no Nail Salons with bright neon colored polish that will do a french tip on your big toe (I think that’s so ghetto…I’m sorry…I really do).  LOL!  I can’t find a beauty supply, but I’ve seen at least 3-5 new wine stores (wine stores…not liquor stores…there is a difference) in the same area of NW I’m talking about here.

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Halloween in DC: Gentrificaiton and Candy

While walking to the Giant on O Street NW I thought of one of the great things about the Gentrification that’s going on in Washington DC, specifically NW. As I watched all of the beautiful children, most of them African American, I thought about all the upgraded candy they would be collecting from Gentrified households. Not to say that Big Momma and nem’ don’t give great candy, because they do. I saw folks giving out candy from the projects near the Convention Center, and the kids were swarming and happy. However, being from the midwest originally I know that white folks have great goodies at Halloween too. Baked goods…oh yes.

The other great thing I saw tonight was black families all together with the kids, having family time. It was great.

Happy Halloween!!! (For those of you who celebrate it. I know that lots of Christians don’t, and to you I say Happy Any Other Day! LOL)

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