barriers … part uno

Yo , son. Remember 98 ,99 , 00? Remember when We are the Streets dropped on cassette? Remember playing X Men vs Street Fighter until you got blisters on your thumbs? Ahhhh , those were the days.

So I went to JHS 263 on Sutter ave Between Chester & Bristol. In Brownsville , Brooklyn. This was back when Bloods controlled the side of the Ville going from Rockaway ave up til East New York , Brooklyn. & for the most part , still do. My Junior High was on the other side of Rockaway in Crip/Folk territory — yeah BK been had Folks since like 99 or 98. Back before the youngins started mimicking Chief Keef and nem. I lived on Rockaway & Dumont which is a meeting point of three housing projects. Brownsville Houses [ Blood/ABG ], Tilden Houses [ Blood/ABG ]& Marcus Garvey Houses [ Crip/Folk ]. Rockaway is like the mason dixon line for gang activity. Bloods on one side & Crip on the other & I lived in Blood/ABG territory. So, early on in life I learned where to go & where not to. Dont go too far past Rockaway — you might get washed. Washed means beat the fuck up. In fact , dont go any where outside your projects. Just walk around in circles & shit. LH — Langston Hughes Projects had an ill rep. It was rumored that they had weaponry that could take down a plane. But who Knows ? Dont even walk through Howard Projects , Van Dyke Projects etc. This was the mentality back then. Self insolation like each projects is its own island— see the Wisdom God Degree in the 1 to 40 [ Lost Found Muslim Lesson # 2 ]

Rockaway & Dumont [ Brownsville Houses to the left , Tilden Houses to the right

Note : Brownsville Brooklyn has 18 housing projects in an area thats about 1 square mile. It has the highest concentration of Housing Projects in … wait for it …. America! One hell of an obstacle course when you trying to go see a shorty , hahahah

Mother Gaston BLVD between Sutter & Belmont

Back to Junior High tho. I had a little four man crew & we all lived in different housing projects. Carl was from Howard p’s — masta ace from there. Alex & Jean Claude were from Seth Low Projects — Steele from Smif n Wessun from those parts. And every day after school , we’d walked down Sutter ave until we reached Mother Gaston BLVD. That’s our own little Lexington ave. We’d go to each other projects and play video games , watch Dragon Ball Z movies & argue about girls.

When Jean Claude moved to Canarsie — a faux suburban neighborhood to the East of Brownsville — thats when I began to realize the imaginary Barriers we place in our minds as a coping mechanism. Jean Claude moved out there and there’s a strip called Pennsylvania Ave. It goes through East New York , another neighborhood called New Lots and is close enough to Canarsie for one to walk there. & Jean Claude lived in Breukelen Houses.

So Jean Claude would come to school & tell us all about Pennsylvania Avenue. The arcades , the pizza shops , the restaurants etc . I mean, He talked about that strip like it was Hollywood blvd. And in our young minds , this must’ve been a world away. But it wasn't. From Brownsville , you can literally WALK to Pennsylvania. But that wasn't happening w us. Too many niggas was gettin robbed , shot , violated etc for us to take that risk. This is back when you moved in packs just to go shopping. Back when your mom warned you about going to cash your summer youth check by yourself because … well … this the Ville. Stick up kid Mecca. People are very clanish in Brooklyn so you stayed where you lived except to cop gear or go to a party. & even then as i said , WOLF PACK.

Reflecting on this got me thinking about an ayat in the Holy Quwan where Allah say , “Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?” [ 4 ; 97 ]


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