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THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF GENTRIFICATION (from the “Urban Fortresses” series)
The cycle starts with systemic neglect.
Without economic development,
communities become irrelevant,
and their residents command no respect.
Next comes the decay the experts call, “blight:”
broken windows prove dilapidation,
litter strewn about- with trash cans in sight.
and bespeak of residents’ frustration.
Then comes the, “urban redevelopment:”
the first wave of hipsters, and artist types,
the, “I don’t see colors, just people” types,
who raise up property values and rents.
But neighborhoods’ hipness, like new toys… fades
to blue lights and sirens’ harsh serenades.
Watch “Mantan Moreland & Nipsey Russell 1955” on YouTube
There were a lot of people who inspired me to become an artist. Nipsey Russell is definitely on that list. His charm, wit, and ability to drop pearls of wisdom in rhyme on network television was incredible. Like my other childhood heroes like Richard Pryor and George Carlin, Nipsey used comedy with the skill of a neurosurgeon.
Here are my Nipsey Russell inspired poems to honor this comedian, poet and dancer on the 102nd anniversary of his birth. This iconic entertainer’s career spanned decades from the Chitlin Circuit to major motion pictures. Many recognize him as the “Tin Man” in the Wiz. Others remember him as the “Poet Laureate” on the 70s game show, Match Game. For those of us who are too young to remember those references, he’s the dude Nipsey Hustle got his name from. RIP (rest in poetry)
1. We live in the strange days of coronavirus when presidential speeches only help to divide us, and words of wisdom come from Miley Cyrus.
2. As America finally reckons with its racist legacy, protests flare up like wildfires from sea to shining sea.
3. If I must stay home and self-quarantine, can I at least shelter in place with nymphomaniac sex fiend?
4. Some say the “breakfast of champions” is Wheaties, others prefer steak and eggs. Well, my favorite meal’s between her legs.
5. The people who question the motives of Black Lives Matter obviously haven’t paid attention to a few centuries of data.