You can’t say we didn’t warn you. Consider this your warning. A revolution is coming and it will be lead by the OGs in our community. The new wave is being lead by the most powerful and wise elders (and youth) that our community has to offer. Our most talented products of the community may have your attention now, but Instagram has allowed everybody and equal opportunity to get 15 seconds of fame. “Because the Internet” in the words of the illustrious Gambino, everybody is more distracted than ever. At first, generations were lost because they dedicated themselves to the radio. Next came the television, aka the idiot box. Then came the wonderful world of cell phones. And thanks to the World Wide Web, you can have a nice and neat combination of all three tools of mind control right in the palm of your hand. GREATEST invention of distraction EVER. It’s about an 85% chance that you’re reading this article right now instead of doing something more obligatory or urgent, such as cleaning up, sleeping, or homework…or actually doing work, at work. Either way, now that I have your attention, I won’t really waste it too much. I’ll just share some inspiration with you about what we feel is necessary in order for you to change your environment and thus change your life.
Anyway, back to my original point, OGs in your community that belong to the motorcycle clubs, churches, local government employees, school district employees, the grocery store employees, and where ever else you can spot them: they will lead the way. Our community needs a lot of hard work to improve and these people put in all the work back in the day to lay a foundation for a culture that still stands today: West Coast Gangsta Sh*t. The concept of bloods and crips has swarmed the youth all over the country like a slime that won’t rinse off. It’s amazing when you think about how powerful that influence can be if it were to ever be harnessed. Hence the reason Tupac Shakur was such a threat.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like gangbangin’ has shifted from being used as a tool that sometimes dictated a person’s lifestyle. Some people understand gangs as a means of making money in an organized manner while gaining some respect with the purpose of protecting your community and providing some resources. I feel like gangbangin’ was our African-American equivalent to the Italian Mob. Bangin’ came with benefits if you decided to put your life on the line and be serious about the life you were choosing to live. But today? Gang members outside of California seem to be more serious about actually bangin’ the hood. Don’t get me wrong, people are surely bangin’ in LA, all over the city. “100 Days” just happened. I know this. However, I do feel that the rate of youth joining gangs has significantly slowed down since about 2004. LA uses gang bangin for affiliation, but is anybody really getting big money? Like millions of dollars the way they did when it started in the 70s? Or is it just so that young “men” can have something to rap about. I don’t know. I’m just saying, gangs are not the same, anymore. I hope they NEVER are the same again. I’m glad that the effects of the crack epidemic are starting to wear off a little bit. Now we must apply pressure for recovery and begin to heal our community with the same enthusiasm, effort and energy used to damage our people.
In my opinion, a very aggressive yet finessed approach towards anything action can be considered “gangsta”. I believe that gangsta is not what you do, but how you handle yourself. Gangsta is a code of conduct. The real “gangstas” in our community that are over the age of 45 have mastered the ability to be positive, successful people. They own homes, they have kids they are proud of, and they are still found in the community. They don’t operate like their former selves because they made some internal changes by looking at life from different perspectives. It can be very inspiring to see somebody live a good life after knowing they’ve been shot or shot at on several occasions or knowing that they have spent a significant amount of time incarcerated. Either way, respect and admiration is always well deserved whenever you think about any real OG that managed to turn their life around.
I hope that it will be motivating when I tell you about Cynthia Nunn and what she’s been up to since she decided to take a huge stand for her community. After investing time and energy into raising kids, grandkids, foster kids, neighbor’s kids, and all types of other extended family, this woman decided to do even more for others. It’s really astonishing every time I think about how far she has gone in her life from contributing to the problems in the city, to putting in enough work for 10 people half her age to heal the city and give us a chance at a future. If she hadn’t been active for these last five years, who knows what kind of vibes would be surrounding the intersection of Long Beach Blvd. and Compton Blvd. Without a doubt, Cynthia Nunn has saved lives and fed hundreds of families, and gave thousands of kids more than a few good holidays.
Check out this interview of Ms. Nunn and myself on a typical Saturday afternoon in the Hub City.
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