When a New Yorker Leaves the Hood

Let’s face it. When your friend leaves the hood, it’s a bitter-sweet spectacle.

Many in the hood want to obtain absurd amounts of wealth to buy all the luxury clothing that will juxtapose their habitat. To flaunt the audacity to walk in urban decadence with the new Ghost Whites on their feet and a gold chain pounding no fear on their heart with every step. In the Hood, you look good;  you feel good. The ‘Hood Rich’ mentality is one of consumerism– the idea that you are what you wear. We place value on ourselves based on the things we can afford to buy.
But there’s a catch.
You can’t keep that title if you leave the Hood. Because we simultaneously worship wealth while romanticizing “the struggle.” The struggle of surviving in a dangerous environment… of living paycheck to paycheck… of eating hypertension-inducing instant ramen noodles everyday… of having to sell drugs, sell ass, or both when no one wants to hire you. So when you finally escape this social prison, your childhood friends are bound to feel resentment.

Society has been engineered to keep you poor. So if you’re lucky enough to be granted the right opportunities to leave, chances are your friends are not going with you. Your friends may blame you for not being able to take them with you. Maybe even blame themselves even if they work harder than you. We continue to look at each other and point the finger at everyone. Everyone but the warden and his guards that turn a blind eye to your implosion. The cold truth: the system was designed this way.

How do we cope when the people we love can’t leave the hood?

We celebrate with the hood. Party with the hood. Feed the hood. We treat them like charity cases to cope with the guilt of our success. Because in a way, these are the people that have contributed to who we are and what we’ve become. They deserve more than what you can give them and you know it. But we know damn well everyone can’t fit on the life boat while the titanic sinks. Otherwise, you’ll all drown. And capitalism has taught us that suffering is all worth it as long as one of us makes it. The ones that “make it” become the new-money Gatsby to absolve their guilt. After the entourage, they indulge in their new lavish lifestyle alone while their friends go back to the hood to tell braggadocios stories of their old friend that came back to the Hood to share a taste of his newly found wealth.

And Chopped Cheese.

Boyfriend Hanging Out with His ‘Homegirl’ Again?

“I Don’t Play That ‘Best Friend’ Sh*t” was a dealbreaker an old girlfriend gave me about having a homegirl.

Having friends outside of your relationship is absolutely healthy. Even platonic romance. However, there’s a bold red flag if your man is coming home to his homegirl more often than he’s coming to you.

Often we want to give our partners freedom. Especially when Black women are constantly gaslighted when voicing any concern. Women in general are always stereotyped to be more “emotional. So one could only imagine the societal pressures to not be “that angry Black Woman” when you are unhappy. If your significant other’s relationship with his homegirl seems sus, you have all the reason to question it. Especially if he ghosts your texts and calls every time he is with them.

Worst Netflix and Chill Ever

This skit with Amanda Cruz about Netflix and Chill going wrong hits too close to home.

Netflix and Chill? Sure. Everyone loves Netflix. Everyone loves to Chill. Why not have both?

Sounds calm.

But not everyone is aware of what the “and chill” part really means.  Guys are so indirect about their intentions, you constantly have to ask things like “So are we chilling? Or are we chilling?” Or else they’ll act like you’re the crazy one for not knowing what they meant.

And coded language isn’t just some millennial phenomenon. Asking a girl to ‘Netflix and Chill’ is the equivalent to the old asking-a-girl-if-she-wants-to-‘Have-some-coffee-sometime’-at-your-place trick. Guys, there are plenty of people willing to go on a date with you or maybe even just a casual hook up. Just be straight forward. If you tell a girl you want to hang out, that’s most likely what will happen. Don’t expect anything more than what was agreed upon or you will be wasting both of each other’s time. Also, you won’t look like an entitled prick trying to coerce someone into doing something they didn’t agree to.

The London Rap That Saved Memes in 2017

What’s this Weird Side of London Rap?

Memes in 2017 just haven’t had the same dankery as 2016. Either the absurdity of bass-boosted slapstick humor has just gotten stale or things just haven’t been very memeable… But just when we were giving up on memes, this small snippet of a rapper literally making gun sounds was all over Facebook and Twitter. Within just a day there were entire compilations of this meme-worthy moment. Apparently this London rap is one of many satirical interviews in a BBC series call Fire in the Booth. Remember this guy?

New Yorkers React to London Rap

I watch this interview more times than I eat in a day. Never gets old.

The Famous Chopped Cheese Video That Sparked Controversy

Almonte sparks controversy, simplifying the conversation surrounding gentrification with his famous Chopped Cheese Video.

The chopped cheese is a New York City staple monumental to the city’s urban culture. When food tourism company Insider Foods gave a tone-deaf review of the sandwich, it hit too close to home to ignore. They’re not the first to be insensitive or bastardize the culture surrounding underground foods and pretending that “no one knows about it.” Taco Tuesdays. Sushi Cones. French-owned Cambodian spider restaurants. These tell-tale signs of gentrification have worried locals for years. Insider Food’s Chopped Cheese video was the last straw for Almonte.

Almonte reacts saying ‘this is how it starts.’ Hipsters and yuppies–middle class transplants from the Midwestern states– run to enjoy the hustle-hard urban aesthetic of the hood. Simple things like cheap food and rent entice them to flood to places they’re overqualified to live in. Financially privileged and oblivious to the existence of the poor, they call the price of a chopped cheese a “steal.” The irony of callingit a ‘steal’ foreshadows the thieving nature of Columbus syndrome, a plague coined by Spike Lee to describe a plague of visitors claiming to discover a cultural element locals have indulged in for years.

Hipsters Invade Harlem after the Chopped Cheese Video

At first glance, Insider’s viral Chopped Cheese video sending an influx of tourists seems to be something that would boost Harlem’s local economy. However, kids who would look forward to buying the chopped cheese po’ boy sandwich now face the reality that the prices may skyrocket now that a bunch of White middle-class yuppies will walk in the store bragging about what a “steal” it is. The commodification of edgy underground perks that ‘no one knows about’ becomes an overpriced tourist attraction that business owner’s can exploit at will, leaving locals out of the loop.

‘It’s not supposed to be revolutionary. It’s a f*ckin sandwich.”

But is it really just a sandwich? The chopped cheese video’s sharp rise in popularity has turned what was “just a sandwich” into a symbol of our fleeting culture. Bourgeois Upper East Side stores will soon make their new-and-improved organic, gluten-free, non-GMO chopped cheese on a panini and replace the Arizona with a Naked juice.  The bodegas filling up with White people that treat the Hood like a sideshow at the carnival is a mere microcosm of gentrification. Something as simple as a chopped up burger on a hero has now allowed people to understand gentrification on a smaller, simpler scale. Even a year and a half later, the chopped cheese video continues to resurface in the complex conversation of gentrification.

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