London England – Day 2
Let me start off by giving a big ass “FVCK YOU” to U.S. Airways for not delivering my bags to Brixton, London. I called all day and they continue to tell me that they have not located my bag. In addition to calling I have been running around London with the same grimy tank-top and PRPS Pants since Saturday afternoon. U.S. Airways I am coming for everything mark my words.
Besides my obvious beef with U.S. Airways I spent my first and second days getting acquainted with a cool place in South London called Brixton. Brixton is the equivalent to Brooklyn NYC without the good food spots. Yes good-tasting food seems to be the “Achilles heel” of London. I wouldn’t call myself a food critic but I know good food when I taste it and I have yet to find any spots. (I also have to remember that London is rather big and I only navigated about a good 10 Percent of the city. ) Brixton itself is a very tight community with various races that dominate the population. Nigerian & Jamaican seems to the most dominate and it shows through fashion, music and cuisine. Peppered across the streets of South London are the cool sounds of reggae music, fast-talking Nigerian vendors, and Caribbean bakeries. Brixton is what many would consider to be low-poverty but the people here carry themselves with such confidence that being “low-poverty” is something that you soon forget. Considering what we call the hood back home Brixton has to appearance of a suburb. I know any local would quickly argue me down and tell me “Brixton ain’t sweet” but compared to what I have seen in Philly, the residential area of Brixton looks a lot better.
What I am listening To:
Well why am I in Brixton anyway? I am pretty sure that you remember from my last post that I am consulting for an indy record label, my first task is to create some visuals for an artist who calls Brixton his home. (For the sake of privacy for the label this guy shall remain nameless.)
Artist A (cool name right?) has a significantly large fan base in Brixton. Part of understanding his visuals is to understand his cultural relationship with the place that he calls home. I found myself running around Brixton taking lots of pictures and talking to the locals. I had to get my hands dirty and understand the culture here. A good artist tends to have a deep connection with his hometown and that makes for all sorts of inspiration in the weirdest places. I found myself looking at the architecture, studying colors, and eating the foods just to be able to feel what people feel here everyday. The best case studies are the ones where you put yourself in the environment.
My night found me roaming the streets of downtown London with some good friends and getting a lesson in race relations. I learned many things that helped me understand what it means to be a person of African decent in The United Kingdom versus The United States. There are many differences that people don’t quite know or care to understand. I had no idea that blacks don’t celebrate Kwanzaa or even learn about Black History at most Primary schools in London. Most people of African decent make their money and ship it back home. There were no major civil-rights movements or particular Black mortars/icons such as Malcolm X. This is not saying that London is an evil place, it rather shows how Black people view their heritage in Great Britain. They consider themselves “Brits” and they are fine with that. This is a very sensitive subject and is something that I am researching deeper during my stay here. I will get you guys updates as I get them
One of my highlights was my run-in with a Sicilian girl in this Italian restaurant called Vapiano. She was working the salad bar and we decided to have a conversation. I noticed that she had one dread-lock in her hair and I asked her about it. She told me about how she has it because she wants to be Black. As you can imagine my jaw dropped, not because she wants to be black but because of what she told me after I asked her WHY. The young woman began to explain how she views Black as beauty; she then explained how Black people make her feel like herself. She said that she felt more at home around black people then she did around her own race. If this were any other time I would have gladly explained to her how everybody (regardless of race) is beautiful, but for some reason this really hit home. She seemed so sincere with her statement that I had to let her live the moment. It felt good to hear something so positive and heart-filled come from another human being. This was one of those sincere statements I ever heard, and she didn’t seem like a person that was ashamed of her race. For some reason she felt a connection with darker skinned people, and I didn’t want to destroy that.
UNTIL NEXT TIME!