Started on the Westside
There is beauty in chaos. In pain. In death. The purpose of life I guess...
As someone who came from one of the poorest, most neglected parts of St. Louis city, I'm pretty damn proud of my journey so far. But I still have so much I want to do, and the journey has just begun. I want to be in a position to change my environment through what I do for a living. And everyday I'm shown how music is just that. But how do I bring notice to where I came from? My story? I guess I'll start by telling it more.
Wellston will be rebuilt one day, and I wanna make sure I have some part in it.
I grew up with dilapidated houses as my scenic view. Apartment complexes and corner stores were all I knew. Me and my cousins would trek and take the small journey the Delmar Loop, where it was a completely different world. Our usual trips were to corner stores to buy snacks. My favs were Zebra Cakes. Them shits were amazing to me. 😂 (They're nothing but sugar kids! Highly overrated) Luckily, my teeth survived my sugar cravings in childhood. Daytime was ours, full of adventures in the schoolyard of my elementary school (which was a predominantly black school shut down by the city). Playing basketball with the boys as a kid to watching the boys play basketball as a teenager. Nighttime was a different story. I grew up hearing gunshots and domestic disputes every night. It was "scary", but it was oddly the norm for me. As highly sensitive as I've always been, I started not to mind when I got older. I just knew to not be near windows and to try to stay low. I grew used to the adrenaline rushes. I remember wanting to call the police at 12, after hearing my neighbor beating his wife, but was always told to not get involved. To mind my own business. Plus, the cops weren't very reliable...except when they were pulling over random black boys walking home from school.
I look back now and 29 years later, Wellston is STILL the same. The Delmar Loop, the Wash U area have all grown and changed in various ways. New lofts and grocery stores. Gentrification on every other block. But when I go to my neighborhood, literally 5 minutes away from the Loop: areas like Hodiamont, Page, and Hamilton, my childhood hoods, are still devastated. People I grew up with are losing their lives to poverty and the aftermath of it. And I feel powerless sometimes and full of rage. And I avoid visiting my family. And I avoid driving by my old school. My childhood home. Because it’s a constant reminder of how shitty this society is to marginalized groups. I wonder why nothing has changed. Why is it still so much pain and lack? I want to come back again in 10 years and see change. Healing. Growth. Nourishment. Safety. Protection. I want to figure out how I can be a part of that. Because I want more for my fucking Grandma. My aunty. My cousins. My childhood friends. We were all fighting something way before Covid-19.