Why You Pay for Shit Twice in the Hood.

Image courtesy Faith in Action.

I just received an email about a digital farm network in Dallas, and I thought, this is interesting.

I often have conversations with @afrolicious and @tomphilpott
about how to use technology to bridge the gap between farmers and people who buy food.

There is a lot of money being made off of people who live in the hood and this is why if you live in the hood you pay for shit twice, and the endless need for profit/growth plays a huge role.

Last fall, my professor said that a unit of profit requires exploitation. What she meant by this is that in order for someone to profit, someone else has to take a short.

Look at it like this, if you are working at Target, making $7 an hour, Target is making arguably $100 to $200 dollars an hour off of you. You are taking the short, and the corporation is keeping the rest.  What if you were able to keep more of the money you earned for them? Life would be different. On top of that, most of the items that we get from stores are from factories in China, Mexico, Haiti and the Phillipines where women work earning $2 per day. Again, those women are taking the short.

How do people pay for shit twice in the hood. Poverty is lucrative. People who own businesses in the hood make money charging incredible prices for the day to day things needed to survive.

The first example that comes to mind is a New York times article where Barbara Ehrenreich talks about the “ghetto tax” and how being poor is expensive. She writes,

  • “Poor people are less likely to have bank accounts..”
  • .”..low-income car buyers…pay more for car loans than more affluent buyers.”
  • “Low-income drivers pay more for car insurance.”
  • “They are more likely to buy their furniture and appliances through pricey rent-to-own businesses.”
  • “They are less likely to have access to large supermarkets and hence to rely on the far more expensive…convenient stores.”

When you add that all up, you really get a sense of how when you live in the hood you pay more for services and products, just because you live in the hood.

The example of how poverty is expensive is Rafi and Dallas’ video Check Mate. Checkmate analyzes why people in the hood use check cashing places rather than banks, why there are arguably no banks in the hood and how check cashing spots,  pawn shops and gold chain shops operate to seperate the people who don’t have a lot of money from the little bit of bread that they do have.

So people in the hood pay more for mortgages, food, care insurance, furniture, banking or check cashing.

Let me focus on food for a minute.

For a long time I thought that the issue around food and social justice was that we just need have more locally sourced food. But the thing about this is that all cities and states are not created equal.

We don’t get our oranges from Idaho.

Because I come from Oakland, where lemons, limes, tomatoes, rosemary and avocados grow everwhere, I assumed that local was the solution.

It isn’t. More than anything, a solution will be food systems, bodega’s, grocery stores, co-ops, farmers markets where earning a profit, and accumulating ENDLESS profit isn’t the main directive or inspiration.

We have been raised to think that everyone can profit, that growth will always increase. Growth or the endless accumulation of profit has real consequences on the quality of life of people in the hood, and it shows. Peace to South East DC. Peace to East Oakland.

Growing and distributing food and ensuring that low income Latina women in Bushwick, and affluent Jewish women on the upper east side both have access to good, fresh reasonably priced fresh food and vegetables is what I envision.

@Umair talks a lot about this  issue of corporations thinking about the bottom line second or even third his blog.

I know that I am talking about a new society here. But isn’t it time?

Do you pay for things twice?

Have you moved from the hood to the suburbs?

Where you surprised by how much cheaper things were?

Ummm Hmm, Negro

9:12 pm
Undisclosed Bk Location
Me: Ummm. That was quite the look of Appraisal. What does that mean?

Bacon Grits: Just looking, no appraisal happening.

Me: Ummmp. Umm. Hmmp. Yeah okay, Negro. Rocks in seat.

New location
Bacon Grits: Ok, so I have been looking at you like that because, when you look at me, its like, you see right through me.

Me: ***Dead. Oh. Okay, thank you for being honest.


When was the last time you had to be like, “Umm hmm negro?”

I Can Only Listen to the New Erykah: Part I

Time: 3:39 pm.
Date: Saturday, March 1st.
Spot: Cafe on Valencia in the Mission. SF,CA

The only thing that has my head sane right now

is the new Erykah. Telephone, My People, Me, The Healer
have been on constant repeat. Oh and the joint
from Mama’s Gun, Green Eye’s.

Oh, I got some of that new Pete too. That Jim Jones collabo
is by far one of the most grizzliest, soulful joints I have heard
since…..I don’t know when. Hip Hop is Dead, maybe. The Black
Album, perhaps?

Remember the I Can’t listen to Nas post? Well, I don’t think
I would be upright this weekend without Telephone.

Erykah is going so hard on Telephone, Its like she is talking to me.

Sometimes its hard to move/ you see when your growing publicly
But if I have to choose between/ I choose me

Had two babies different dudes/ and for them both my love was true
This is my last interview/ Can’t miss me

This year I turn 36/ Damn it seem it came so quick
Ass and legs have gotten thick/ Its so me
Me New Amerykah 2008

This time last week, I was fielding calls and coordinating
text messages from
the Tea Lounge in Brooklyn.

It pains me how personal these post are going to be.

Filthy stays on me about the fact that
when you are honest when you write, the more likley
you can take the reader to another place.

So I press on. The moment my plane landed there was 2 feet of snow on
the ground.

It was a winter wonderland.

The snow symbolized that other things were in store for me.
The trip showed me a couple of things. The first was that
with prayer and asking for help from friends, anything is possible,

It also confirmed that I would be single, real soon,
whether I wanted to admit it or not, and that hurt.

Today I am.


Being forced to reconsider your truth is real.

Erykah is underrated.


72 Hours of New Amerykah: Part II – First I was Malcom, now I’m El Hajj

Last weekend, in BK, I resided with
Mean Sexy‘s sister,
Flybug Starski
We had one of those 4am, in the gristle
conversations. We discussed our paths in life, whether
we where we wanted to be and coping and planning for the future.

It was awkward, painful and necessary. She demonstrated
to me how my people can hold me down if I actually plan
ahead and ask for help.

I met Filthy Dubois in person for the first time and that
sh-t was bugged. You ever been caught off guard by how
easy it is to chill with someone?

I think we had an entire dialog using
Illmatic lyrics. Man. That sh-t had me gone.

Filthy ain’t Black. So, I caught some sideways glances from cats
while I was walking with him in Harlem. He was not
phased. I was just like “ay, blood, these dudes are tripping”.

But then again, chilling with him, forced me to confront my
own issues of seeing Black men with White women.
White parents with adopted Asian daughters.
My issue with Black men, who get degrees,
and then say that they are not dating Black women
anymore, because we “have too much mouth“.

In fact, SJ continually got on me about how careless it is
for me to make sweeping statements about some
white folks, or about any group in particular.
We all human, no?

Clearly, I have a lot to ponder.


Last week, I wrote on my hand,
“I hate these, I am going to meet my fate moments”.

We are entitled to our truth, but that confrontation
process is not what the streets want.

I am really rethinking the racial lens through which I see things.
Like first I was Malcom, now I’m El Hajj.


"Just like every rapper wants the baddest video chick on his arm, so do AGs."

The Village Voice has an article on how young lesbians agressive’s (ag’s) embrace hip hop thug paradigm for the purposes of appearing hard.

When you go to the club and you’re an AG, your mission that entire night is to find the baddest femme in the club and make her your girl,” says another woman, who calls herself Don Vito Corleone. “Just like every rapper wants the baddest video chick on his arm, so do AGs.”

I have allways had a problem with the idea of women who embrace women but take on a male persona as the main WAY of appear tough, ’bout it and handling yours.

Rap videos have long provided men of color with milestones on their journeys to manhood. From being a successful street businessman (Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ten Crack Commandments”), to learning how to treat a woman (Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit”) and protecting their manhood (50 Cent’s “What Up Gangsta?”), guys are told how to be indestructible, sexually assertive, and in general, badasses. The misogyny and homophobia implicit in that message has long raised the hackles of critics. Oprah Winfrey and columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. made news recently for saying “enough” to the influence of rap’s rougher edges on black culture.

My problem with it is not that they do it, but that that persona is appears to be the only acceptable viable “tough, hooded up persona”.

Im sure women can use their imaginations to be tough, fierce and gully in a variety of ways. No?

“These AGs have a disrespectful mentality, and they get it from men, hoodlums, dudes that are in the ‘hood all day,” says Kysharece Young, an AG, rapper (“Ky Fresh”), and freshman at Monroe College. “They act like a bunch of little damn boys that ain’t got no sense.”

The issues that face young women face young men as well.

In 2005, filmmaker Daniel Peddle chronicled the lives of AGs in his documentary The Aggressives, following six women who went to lengths like binding their breasts to pass as men. But Peddle says that today, very young lesbians of color in New York are creating a new, insular scene that’s largely cut off from the rest of the gay and lesbian community. “A lot of it has to do with this kind of pressure to articulate and express your masculinity within the confines of the hip-hop paradigm,” he tells the Voice.

I knew from the tone of the article that the writer, Chlo? A. Hilliard, was either brown or had an urban history. Then I found this out about her. She was most recently and editor @ the Source (scroll down, after you click to get her article).

She is hella fresh.


Ohhhh. Wu Tang Renunion Doc just came out.
I can’t go.

But somebody needs to go and tell me about it.


This right here is worth seeing it:

Capturing onstage and off with equal energy ? at one point only the inspired freestyling of artists like Redman and MC Supernatural stand between Mr. Weisberg and an all-out riot ? ?Rock the Bells? is a fascinating glimpse of a dreamer and a music culture that has always depended on dreams.


Opens today in Manhattan.

Directed by Casey Suchan and Denis Henry Hennelly; directors of photography, Jeff Bollman and Leif Johnson; music by J. Force; produced by Kurt Dalton and Henry Lowenfels; released by Seventh Art Releasing. At the Two Boots Pioneer Theater, 155 East Third Street, at Avenue A, East Village. Running time: 103 minutes.


Think imma lay of the posting for a min. Unless.

Um. Unless something de.lic.ious happens.

Baby on the right kinda bad.

I planned on posting this last week.

But I got Imus’d.

On a more curious note. I wonder what the Jesse, Al and Oprah would
think of these women?