Every once in a blue I hop in the ride and breeze through my old haunts and reminisce about the reckless days of my life and how I overcame them. On days that I do this I am slowly noticing something; the city is changing. I hardly recognize certain parts of the city anymore. If I didn’t know street names and where they lead I would be lost and that’s a damn shame. I have rode, walked, got pulled over, got my ass whooped and robbed on these streets my whole life; I even remember hoods by their old nicknames and what drug made them famous.
Gentrification seems to give no f**ks about my insignificant memories because they don’t make the city any money. I cross paths with old faces on some of these days and they all say the same thing. They knocked down such and such and they put new condos and townhouses over there. One face even told me he was shocked when saw a white person walking their little ass dog down a once notorious block; it aint notorious no more. New glossy shopping and community centers popping up all over the areas that used to be deemed the badlands and the only white you would see is in powder form, half smoked cigarettes in the gutter and chalk lines.
Old ho strolls have been converted into trendy areas with coffee houses, poetry readings and drunk, belligerent college kids. Slowly but surely the chocolate is being pushed into PG county and as a result the crime rate there is skyrocketing on the humble. This is a bi product of the war on drugs I suppose. Flood the hood, make them kill each other, knock down the neighborhood and take the land. Chess at its finest. More black developers are desperately needed in this matter because everything that is being built doesn’t have people of color in mind at all.
Poverty is still very real in these areas undergoing these changes so how can the residents afford to live in a $400,000 condo? Section 8 isn’t the answer for everything like the way they portray it to be. Funny how all this money is going into this revitalization but the roads are still pothole ridden. The school system is still atrocious and 57% of children in DC schools still drop out on a yearly basis. It doesn’t matter at the end of the day tho. Contracts are still being signed to develop these areas while city council members receive kickbacks and issue liquor licenses like it nobody’s business.
This is a prime example about what happens when you don’t give a s**t about your neighborhood and spend your money outside of your community. This once mighty epicenter of blackness is slowly losing its color. Funny how you can grow attached to despair. It really hurt my heart to see that they knocked down the Sheridan Terrace mural that had been there since 1986. I remember looking forward to seeing that when I came home from out of town now its gone. The city’s modern black history whether good or bad is slowly morphing into an oral tradition because most of the landmarks are being destroyed and no one seems to care. They day they take the big chair off of MLK is the day I know they have won. The chocolate city aint so chocolate anymore.