The Watts Project: On Gentrification
Similar to the "renovation" or "urban renewal" in downtown Los Angeles, which has created upscale housing and a thriving city center and entertainment destination—while displacing the former residents and homeless people who lived there—Watts has been targeted for a similar upgrade. Many of our local residents welcome the change due to Watts' reputation for violence, poverty, and crime, while others fear that economic displacement will make the formerly affordable local housing unavailable and drastically change the community for the worse. The Word staff and Puente class examine this controversy through opinion pieces, investigations into the history of Watts and the effects of gentrification in other communities, interviews with residents, and poems. Click on the links below under "The Watts Project: Features" to check it out.
The Watts Project:
Gentrification: The Movie
A film by Kennith Johnson, with a story by April Johnson, William Breveard, Ronnie Almond, and Kennith Johnson. Features interviews with local residents, archival footage and research showing the effects of community change. Here is one comment posted by a YouTube viewer which sums up the issue better than we can:
iigarcia1982Caucasians used the legal system to bring about gentrification: now that their draconian laws, like the three-strikes law, has taken its toll on Blacks, Mexicans, and Latinos, they want to move back in to the inner cities throughout CA and take advantage of the financial opportunity of low priced real property that NOW has a low crime rate. All Caucasians see is low price and shorter work commute. We have to fight the explicit gentrification and culture-eradication of our communities!
View more here.
By Jordan Carter
Now I realized Hip Hop Has Changed
Hip Hop is slowly losing its fame
So hard to tame
Suduced by your beat
I was tricked
Can’t help but move my feet
Check out that thick chick
He likes the way I rock my hips
Damn ain't that some shit
Suspended in time
I feel I’m about to lose my mind
Let’s all rewind
The world is crying
Why is hip hop dying?
Got girls thinking its okay to show their thong?
Like there’s nothing wrong
Got young men thinking it’s the thing to
Hustle up your money for a little bling bling
Money ain’t anything
When you trade it in for your dynasty
Trapped in this world
With nowhere to go
Who’s going to be our hip hop super hero?
Next generation born without a choice
With no hip hop to hear their voice
Set your mind free
Look around you its spreading fast
Can’t afford to let any more time past
Stuck in this world so cold
Feel like a prisoner
In your own home
Hip Hop is dying
With nowhere to go
By Kennith Johnson
To gentrificate is to liquidate
Some say liquidation, is part of business participation
At whose expense should a profit levy?
When jobs are few, and needs are heavy
Corporate expenses are high though,
But the corporate bonus effect is trickling down slow
The haves and have nots are at war
When it is only the have nots with half the score
Plenty apartments for rent, and plenty houses for sale
But, without corporate droppings they will only be empty shells
Eminent Domain belongs to who?
If you find a homeless person he’ll give you a clue
At the end of the day life is a horse race and it gives us a bet to play
But then you choose should I show or place