Where Are All of The Black People in Gentrified Brooklyn? We're On Murals.
I was walking through Bushwick yesterday with my boyfriend. The weather was nice. Perfect, actually. Sunny afternoon. Cumulus clouds. Not 84 degrees. Just high 60s. But still...Nice.
You see, my boyfriend is looking to move soon. And Bushwick is a consideration, a former stomping ground of mine. For those who aren't familiar with Bushwick, it's a neighborhood in Brooklyn, one of the many New York areas that the Whites have neo-colonized. We see -
Coffee shops with psychedelic-inspired decor, manned by hipster baristas.
Budding vintage clothing shops.
Laundromats filled with White customers, but operated by non-White employees.
A public park named after a hero of color but enjoyed by non-people of color.
And of course -
These are all common symptoms of gentrification, which are no surprise.
However, as we're strolling, my boyfriend points out - "I haven't seen not a one black person around here." To which I responded -
"Look in front of you - We're on the murals."
We both gazed at a 60 foot high black and white portrait of a woman of African descent crowned with a jeweled veil. "Stunning" isn't even the word.
We stood in awe of the mural.
And waded in awe at the terrifying realization that at that moment, the only evidence of our Black bodies were us and that mural.
Are White people memorializing us as a people even though we still exist? Are they considering us a pastime? Like bowling, couponing, and baseball?
There are other evidences of Black bodies as well in Bushwick - a prominent Biggie portrait on Troutman. An abstract Jay Z is right next to him. A younger Kendrick Lamar-looking figure gazing into the future on a bike donning a red, ribbed beanie. Various beautiful wall landscapes of Black people drape Bushwick, but as my boyfriend mentioned -
"...not a one Black person [walking] around here."
So, if you're wandering around a gentrified area and are wondering where all of the Black people are, just look up - we're probably on the walls somewhere. The excitement to have us live on walls is greater than the excitement to live next to us.