One of the only things that my father and I connect on is our love for music and discovering new music for the type of mood we are in. My dad is from France and is very into French rap music which he loves to share with me. Recently my dad introduced me to this artist named Krisy, his raps of the smooth melodic bass beats are something that intrigued from the very first time that I heard him. He speaks of love and romance in a way that is so mesmerizing that I was almost upset that I had not discovered him before my dad. After I finished listening to Krisy’s album I had one of the best conversations with my father. It’s funny how music can help me connect so deeply with my father. Though my father and I don’t have the best relationship it’s cool we can at least connect on this.
I’m currently writing a paper on the under-representation of Latinx (neutral term to refer to both Latinos/as) in my Reflection of American Society on Stage class. I truly had no game plan when it came to writing this paper, as a person who is Haitian (as stated in the previous post) with Cuban descent I felt that it would be interesting to touch base on another part of my culture and ethnic identity. Similar to Blacks in America, Latinx have had similar experiences where they are not given the outlet to express their creativity and be respected in popular culture. However, when Latinx artist was given the opportunity show their talent, they did it very well. For example, Rita Moreno got the role of the fiery Anita in 1961 movie rendition of West Side Story. Though there was controversy over the depiction of Puerto Ricans in the movie where in reality many of the characters (besides Anita) were being played by white actors in brownface. However, Moreno used her platform to show that she was a talent and a force to be reckoned with. From her performance in West Side Story, Rita Moreno won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Anita, becoming the first Hispanic actress to receive the coveted Oscar. Moreno was able to utilize and perhaps even transcend her initial image to become a respected performer with a long career.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of hearing Afro-Dominican poet Elizabeth Acevedo speaking on the topic of Bridging borders between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It was my first time seeing and hearing of this Acevedo, but for seeming reasons, I was struck by her intelligence and her ability to talk about such a controversial matter so gracefully. I as a Haitian immigrant stood there with a Dominican-American and we spoke to each other as people that understood one another. We understood our past, the stigmas that we had as children of immigrants, and the way we were brought up. As the presentation progressed we talked our conversations developed into other pressing matters such as the importance of raising the future generations aware and something she stated that I ended finding a direct quote was, “And I can’t trust this world to teach their sons how to treat my daughter. So I will raise her to be a sword. a spear. a shield.” And that is such a powerful line for me that I will carry on and teach my daughter to be strong for herself no matter what other say about you. I will teach my kids to love and respect where they come from no matter what they hear in the news. I will teach my kids to be knowledgeable about what is going on in the world and have thoughtful conversations just as I try to do every day.
Schwartzman, Paul. “A Bittersweet Renaissance.” The Washington Post, February 23, 2006, sec. Metro. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/22/AR2006022202508.html.
In his 2006 article Bittersweet Renaissance Paul Schwartzman interviews native of Washington D.C. neighborhoods such as Shaw giving them a platform to discuss the changes they have seen in they have seen in their neighborhoods and the repercussions of such changes on them. Schwartzman breaks down such interviews into subsections that help the reader understand the processes of the changes.When it comes to the “Vanishing Culture” the idea and power of money when it comes to the changing of the neighborhoods around the metropolitan area and the impact it has had on not only the people but the “history” of the areas.
I plan on using this as part of my multimodal final project as direct quotes to help the audience understand the standpoint that many natives have concerning the changes in their area. To have several direct statements and testimonies from natives that grew up in the area before and after the changes that it is undergoing would help my audience understand that this is a serious matter that affects individuals greatly.
Whiteside@acm.org. “Where We Live: Shaw.” We Love DC. Accessed April 19, 2017. http://www.welovedc.com/2009/08/28/where-we-live-shaw/.
In their blog post Where We Live: Shaw, We Love DC essentially advertise the reason why individuals should consider living in the Shaw Area speaking on such things as “What to See” the “Neighborhood Character” “History” “Why We Love Shaw” among other aspects. This blog post explains that there has been a “great deal of investment” explaining the reasons as to why such renovations were done. Though there is a history section they speak of the “civil war” and how the Shaw area was the “center of black culture” and how it was hit by the “crack epidemic” however it is now one of the “most loved” neighborhoods in the District that are not only in a “great location” but it is “civically-engaged.”
I plan on using this in my final project to show the audience the other side of what individuals view the changes that have occurred in the Shaw area. While some natives who are usually of minority descent believe that this change has brought a lot of ignoring the history and natives of the area, other such as We Love DC seen this as a change for the best, it has changed a once crack epidemic area to beautiful “civically-engaged” area which then puts in the question why don’t certain people think it was “civically-engaged” before?
Something that I started to notice was the separation between the newly renovated houses and the old houses. They were either on the opposite side of the street or a group of them would be on one street section before the crosswalk. It was almost as if the groups of houses were being renovated by sections of the streets. Which makes you think, 10 years from now how will 5th & O look like?
Walking through the main streets, you can see the diversity of Shaw residence. The white groups of people are eating brunch with their families and friends and you see black individuals riding their blasting music and for the most part greeting individuals that look like them. Two groups of people living in the same are but they barely intermingle with one another.
On my way to 5th & O St. I stumbled on Pastor Jim’s New Community Church, a church that was set in Ruben Castaneda’s book S Street Rising. This church seems to bring a sense of community for the nearby intersecting streets. From talking to residents living around the surrounding area New Community Church has hosted their kids in events and holiday dinners that have greatly helped a lot of the families around. The purpose that Pastor Jim set for this church still rings true today based on the statements of the neighbors.
When I first got out of the metro on my way to 5th & O the first thing I saw was a tall (very nice) building advertising new homes for sale or rent. The sign states “Shaw Streets, New Beats” in efforts to show off the new community that is being built throughout the “shaw streets.” To deliberately put such a nice building and then a big sign in front of the metro stop shows that they hope to bring in tourist and other individuals that have the means to come and create the “new beats” they are looking for.
When I saw this sign I saw it as a political statement from the Mayor’s office. Shaw is one of the most profitable neighborhoods in the D.C. area, there are dozens of houses either being built or on the market that go for at a minimum around 1.2 million dollars. The individuals that are moving into 5th & O among other streets in the Shaw Area are looking for a certain modern, clean feel. The Government of District of Columbia knows good and well that there needs the only way to attract such “prospective residents” is to upkeep the New Shaw.
Something that reminds me of my site (5th & O St NW) is a picture that I stumbled upon while I was doing research for my annotated bibliography collection. This picture I feel represents the topoi community. This picture was taken inside of Gregg’s Barbershop a that has been in the same location since 1913. Though there are such things
as displacement and pressure to house the communities that are no longer able to live in the same areas as before there is a sense of needing to interact and have some sort of support system within the community of people that is left. Something that I realize throughout my research of 5th & O St and the Shaw area as a whole if the way that neighbors who have known each other for a long period of time interacted with one another. Their interactions were always on a family level, being there for one another no matter what. Through there are new groups of individuals coming in, settling themselves and creating a family, the natives live their lives understand the power of the meaning “love thy neighbor.” Though they might feel misunderstood in many aspects when it comes to the lack of privileges they have compared to their new counterparts, but they know how to survive and make a life for themselves the best they can.