Straight out of JERSEY
It all started in Jersey City, New Jersey my mom lost my grandmother at the age of 17 so she had to grow up really fast. My mom was pretty reckless sold drugs, involved in many fights, and was running the streets with my uncle who pretty much taught her the game. This was her way of surviving. After giving birth to me at 21 things changed a bit not much but it gave her a purpose to live. My mom was hustler I knew our lights wasn't going to get shut off and we would always have some food on the table even if we had to pay someone for food stamps. You know in the hood the crackheads sell their food stamps to get some cash to purchase another hit. She always had 3 jobs. I knew around Christmas time I wouldn't see my mom that much because she would be doing over time, so santa can have everything I wanted under our Christmas tree. I knew whatever my mom lacked my grandma cookie (dads mom) was going to provide. My grandma cookie showed me a different side of life and because of her I got to experience tons of memories in her 20 + year old brownstone. Her knowledge and wisdom always motivated me to chase my dreams. My dad was facing time in jail he came from a pretty good background but got caught up in the streets. I was pretty familiar with jail. At 3 years old I was visiting prisons to see my uncles. My dad never wanted me to see him in that predicament. I always knew we would have at least 15 extra mins of visiting hours because my uncle was screwing the women. The males correction officers was always afraid they would get another chair thrown against their head. Saturday morning jail visits was the norm until my uncle was sent off with the feds and they started shipping him to places they knew his family couldn't afford to take a plane or purchase a hotel.
For 12 years I was the only child so growing up in Jersey City I basically lived with a house full of cousins and all we knew was to protect each other and if we came home with any bruises we was getting our ass beat. From P.S #34 to P.S#41 we was protecting each other. I still remember us blocking off the streets to turn the fire hydrate on as we chasing each other down the block with water guns. Every year I was in the hospital for either splitting my foot open, busting my head, split finger or having a sprained wrist from either hoping gates with my cousins or being clumsy. Papi was always prepared for us to come to the corner store. We would come in a pack of ten and would be fighting over who get the nacho cheese seeds vs. the original.
I knew if someone popped off at the mouth we was making one phone call and my uncles was pulling up to shut the entire block down. I knew to lay flat on the ground every time I hear gun shots and if the cops come don't say nothing. Watching my mom get arrested at 6 years old was beyond crazy it was quite funny how the cops pulled up to the house at 6am banging down the doors yelling but then telling me “oh she's not going to jail little girl we just need to talk to her.” Yup they thought I was that gullible little girl from Beverley Hills. Nope I knew what time it was and I knew it was time for me to make that phone call to call grandma cookie and that she was coming to rescue me.
I still remember my gang banging female cousin calling her OGs to pistol whip one of my grandfather workers because she thought he stole her bag of weed and speakers. Tears came to my eyes as I watch that man scream for help as the blood was gushing from his eye balls.
9 years old my mom packing our bags moving to Newark because we had a better housing opportunity to get support from the government but it was World War 2. Barclay and Somerset Street right across from Prince Street Projects. I've never tripped over so many crack bottles or seen so many broken mail boxes with drugs stashed until we moved there. I was upset because we moved to a new city with higher crime rate and the rest of my family was still in Jersey City. I've never mastered the drop to the ground procedure when you hear a gun shot until we moved there. Also, we had to be very careful walking on the sidewalks because the stolen cars crashing into the building was the norm. Playing outside in the neighborhood we would always be on the look out because the bloods and crips was only separated by one block. Until one day my cousin Bianca and I was riding bikes and a shoot out went down. She jumped off her bike and laid flat down on the ground as we watched the dudes in the hood run pass us shooting at each other. The bullet shells fell in front of her face. From that day I knew I wanted to live a different life and that I had to work my ass off to be successful so one day I can give back to the hood.
I will always have endless love for my city. Girls form the hood can be ambitious and a boss as well and it start with you. How has your city impacted your life? Comment below!