South Side Chicago – What It Really Looks Like

Oct 28, 2023 952K Views 4.2K Comments

What south side Chicago really looks like

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► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello

MUSIC USED IN THE VIDEO 🎵
► Jules Gaia – Walk Break
► Terin Ector – Cold World (Instrumental Version)

♪ hip hop ♪
[Peter] Dilla, what’s going on?
[Dilla] Welcome to Chicago, we’re at
the 97th annual Bud Billiken Parade.
It happens to be the largest
African American parade in this country.
-Today we’re gonna get into it,
we’re in South Side.
We’re gonna see
all different corners of it, right?
-Absolutely, not only on the South Side
but we’re really in the place
which was the only place
that black people
could live in on the South Side.
We call this place Bronzeville.
So from 1874 to 1940
this was it
because of the racial covenants.
And so this is
the Black culture of the city,
the Black metropolis we’re in right now.
-These are sweet old houses,
they’re really nice.
-Yeah, absolutely.
So some of the ones are new
but the older ones were former mansions
constructed for grain merchants.
-Oh, cool, cool.
-This used to be
a German Jewish neighborhood.
And the cool thing about
the Jewish homies is
they didn’t mind renting to the brothers.
And so as they moved out they shared
their space with African Americans.
So what was a Jewish neighborhood
became an African American neighborhood.
-Jewish homies and Blacks
got along okay you’re saying?
-Oh my God,
not only did they get along okay
but in the many instances because
the Jewish homies could change their names
they could climb the structure higher
and bring the brothers with them.
-Dilla, for those that don’t know…
your profession?
-I’m most known
as Chicago’s urban historian.
I’m also a high voltage electrician
for the light company,
and my most important job
is I’m a father of seven and a husband.
♪ hip hop ♪
[Dilla] I wish more of the world saw it.
Because the first thing you think about
the South Side of Chicago.
is gangs and violence.
-Yep.
-And this has been going on for 97 years.
Like to see people… Black,
Brown, White , Jewish, Italian people
hanging out on the South Side of Chicago
celebrating our city
it’s amazing, it makes me feel very proud.
[Peter] Oh, they’re fired up.
We got the dancers, we got
the smoke from the grills over here,
we got a Lakers hat in the house,
that’s a bit surprising.
-Does it say Lakers anywhere? Oh.
-I thought I was in Chicago.
-It’s only purple and gold but that’s it.
-You’re trying to match, okay…
Gotcha, gotcha.
I gotta say this is
some hugely impressive architecture here.
[Dilla] Louie Armstrong house,
family friend still owns it.
So that’s why
it’s the horns in the window.
One of those horns is his.
The family friend got it
from Louis Armstrong.
[man] Wow.
-You didn’t know that?
-I didn’t know that.
I pass by here all the time.
[Dilla] That’s one thing
I wanted to make sure,
the duplexity of our communities.
I’m sure the kids that attend
Mollison Elementary right here
have no idea that their school is on
the block that Louie Armstrong grew up on.
-A lot of locals have no clue?
-No clue.
-We was just walking with somebody.
-Right.
No clue.
So some of that affects us moving forward
because when you aware that you’re
on sacred grounds you act differently.
Even the gang problem,
it didn’t just pop out of nowhere, right?
There’s no such thing in America as
Black gangs in integrated neighborhoods.
How do I know?
What’s their gang names?
The Bloods, that’s what Black people
call each other, “Whats up, Blood?”
If it’s integrated, the Irish dude
gonna say, “We gotta have a new name.”
We don’t refer to ourselves as blood.
The Black Disciples, the Latin Kings,
all these American street gangs
form in segregated neighborhoods.
And so that’s why we have crime
on the South Side of Chicago.
We segregated Black people in this space
and then we provided no resources
and to protect themselves
they formed gangs
and in those gangs the scariest dude
is gonna become the leader.
-Right?
-Yeah.
-Sometime the scariest dude
ain’t the best leader.
But none of that happens
if you don’t segregate
and remove resources from these people.
-I wanna get in that today
in some neighborhoods we go to
I wanna dive deep around that topic.
-Absolutely.
-‘Cause that’s what
everyone has on their mind.
The majority of murders
are in South Side, right?
-Yeah.
-And so we have this in South Side
but we also have many different stories.
-Evan that, like–
-We gotta understand it better.
-We are 300, 400 murders a year
under what the ’90s were.
-Right?
-Yeah.
-Why isn’t that looked at as progress?
We’re doing better
than the previous decades.
So ain’t that progress? Zero would be
the number of murders I want.
[Dilla with the music]
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.
This is the greatest city on earth.
Do these kids not look like
they care about community?
Nobody’s getting paid to be out here.
You pay to get in the parade.
-So first impressions,
that’s what I feel, community.
-Yeah.
-That’s the number one thing,
I feel charged down here.
Like everywhere
has its problems obviously
but there is something here
that I didn’t feel on the North Side.
[hip hop from speakers]
It’s an honor to meet y’all, man.
Like I said, I seen y’all’s shirt,
I was telling him
when I see stuff I believe in
I want to pour into that, man.
I’d love to take you
on a neighborhood tour.
-Dylan, right?
-That’s me.
-We deal with very high risk children.
We took them to Springfield so they
got to experience the state capital
and a whole ‘nother city
that they never had been to.
So what you do is very important.
It was beautiful
to take them to Springfield
because what they got to do is
not have to be in the streets of Chicago
and look over they shoulders every day.
And so guess what I got to see,
I got to see kids again.
As we were driving back to Chicago
I saw little soldiers.
I saw them putting on their armor
getting ready for these streets.
It broke my whole heart.
And so we gotta
work together to get this.
To expose them to different things,
let them know the city
is just not as they know it all the life.
-Man, and not just that.
It’s a small amount of time
that you gotta survive.
If you can get through
high school and not mess your life up
this world can be your oyster.
-It’s crazy you say that
because my kids, when they talk to me,
they are hopeless.
And so they don’t believe
they gonna make it 21 years.
-They’re hopeless?
-They don’t believe
they gonna make it to 21 years of age.
And so when you talk about that,
that’s absolutely, sir.
We gotta get them to have faith
and believe they can make it.
My kids want to go to college,
oh my God, I’mma do everything I can.
-And it’s a travesty to have all
these resources and they don’t go nowhere.
It’s all like, “I got friends.”
There’s programs
but I don’t think they know that.
Let me give you my number.
-Ma’am what’s your program here?
We are Ex-Cons
for Community and Social Change.
We do street intervention work
with high risk youth.
We intervene to stop violence.
We also do workforce and we do re-entry.
-How’s it going right now?
How are things in Chicago, 2023?
Unfortunately 2023, there could be
a lot more done for children.
We’re focused on
a population that just got here
and we’re not focused
on the population that’s been here.
-What do you mean?
-I’m talking about migrants.
You give them millions of dollars
and I have little Black homeless children
that have been here.
I’m not saying they don’t deserve help
but I’m saying how ’bout
helping people that were here first?
Just a little bit.
Just to even get them some belief that
things could be different in their life.
While you’re showing them
on TV that everything’s different
for people who
just got here in their life.
Tell me how is it that
people that just got here have cars?
How they have cars?
And not just one car, multiple cars.
And I don’t see them working.
Go down on Roosevelt,
any Home Depot, anywhere,
and you see them
hanging out, congregating.
Train up the people who are here
’cause I promise they want to work too.
They need the resources to know
they exist in their communities
to take them to the next step
to help them get a job.
Help them sustain that job.
That’s what that looks like.
We’re not getting that
in our communities
but the migrants are getting it first.
They’ll say,
“There have been programs forever.”
but if the people don’t know about them
then are they really there to be helpful?
-In the immigrant situation
they’re doing their standard tactic
which is divide and conquer.
Because as opposed to worrying about
the services immigrants are getting
we need to make the people pay
for sending the services here.
They’re committing kidnapping
by taking immigrants in Texas
and putting them on a bus,
and not getting their permission
to be put on a bus.
Not getting their…
Just shipping them, any city, right?
-Yeah but guys, let me step in here.
What about Yuma, Arizona, or Eagle Pass?
They shouldn’t have to
take the brunt of this situation.
-I don’t think so either.
-Their communities get overrun,
hospitals, schools, every service,
medical services.
-They have set up services.
They set up welcoming centers
to register for the upcoming school year.
But every child had to either be…
Have taken the vaccine or something.
-So now–
-Even our residential sh*t.
-As they talk about COVID
is back on the rise
you haven’t ensured they
had the vaccine while you made sure
parents had to go through that.
-So it’s an unfair system.
-Very much so.
-I’m not saying they don’t have a need,
we shouldn’t do something,
I’m saying first, where is
the responsibility to the people
who elected you to fix the problems
that existed before they got here?
Everything that happened,
happened to us first.
-When do we ever get some repair first?
-Yeah.
We’ve never had that opportunity
to get any repair first
and yet now we have migrants
you put before us.
So as their numbers will grow and build
above Black people that will be working,
getting services,
be in school, these things.
Black people will still be
at the bottom of the totem pole.
Is that fair?
-The migrant issue
in Chicago is really tough
because African Americans
are kinda very pissed off
because Rahm Emanuel,
our previous mayor before Lightfoot
closed 52 schools
and we couldn’t afford to keep them open.
Maintenance, that kind of stuff.
20 of them now are housing migrants
that are being bussed to Chicago
and the Black communities are like,
“Where are you finding
that money to keep the building open?”
”Who’s doing the maintenance?”
“Where is that funding coming from
to house them that wasn’t there
to educate us that were born here?”
That’s been a common thing
-What doesn’t get told so well
and is very confusing
’cause there’s a lot to this situation.
-The majority are economic migrants.
-Yeah.
-You gonna make
six grand in Santiago, Chile.
Maybe you’re from Haitian,
Cuban, whatever background,
you can go make 35, 40 in the US.
Why wouldn’t you go?
I would do it.
-Right.
-I don’t give them sh*t,
I would do the same thing.
-Yeah, but I think
it’s how do we create
a pathway that’s equitable
to those of us
that are here already, right?
-Yeah, I agree… I agree.
It’s like if we had
our house totally in order…
Like the test scores
were amazing in the schools here,
all the resources were there,
everyone was tracked into great employment
yeah, take in everyone then maybe.
-Even taking it
as a descendent of slavery.
If you mention that my parents
couldn’t buy a house because of redlining
or something like that, right?
It’s like, “Oh, get over it.”
Then I can understand the sentiment of
for generations I’ve been struggling
and now somebody can arrive here,
and not born here, not a citizen
they can kind of jump ahead of me.
I do think if we focus more on
getting our house in order
then that will become a byproduct
of getting our house in order.
I don’t think that should be
the singular focal point
of what Black Chicagoans
should be focused on.
We should be focusing on pending
gentrification in certain neighborhoods
and how we implement rent controls.
To where you can only charge so much.
So that you’re not pricing out the people
that have made the community what it is.
-Can we show some of those areas today?
-Yep, absolutely.
♪ jazz ♪
[Dilla] It was originally
an Irish and Italian neighborhood.
White flight changed the demographics.
-When was White flight here?
-In Chicago White flight started in 1951
and lasted until about
King’s assassination.
After King was assassinated
you gotta call it White jet.
It wasn’t even White flight no more.
That next day it was not very many
White people on the South Side.
-‘Cause of crime or what?
-After King was assassinated
there was a riot.
So after the riots
people packed up and left.
There’s some of
the most amazing architecture.
We live in a bungalow.
It’s a particular Chicago style
of housing known worldwide.
The block I’m fittin’ to drive down now,
Chaka Khan went to that high school.
Baseball fans, Kirby Puckett
went to Calument High School.
-Wow, old school.
-Kanye West has a song,
he says his friend lived on 81st and May
down the street from Calument
the school for the stoned.
So this school was primarily inhabited
by the Black Songs Chicago street gang.
-We’ve been in South Side the whole time?
-Yeah, we have not left South Side.
Okay, from the parade, so when we
went by the stadium that was South Side?
So you were saying off-camera it goes
like blocks of really nice neighborhoods
and then blight, and then nice, and then…
-Yeah, every couple blocks…
After two blocks you can go
from $500,000 homes
to blocks with two houses on it
and a bunch of vacant lots.
-It’s a nice neighborhood though
-We live in a decent pocket.
-What do these houses cost?
-My house, 200 grand.
-Now they’re 200 grand?
-Yeah.
My house was built in 1920
and it was $6,000 brand new.
-[woman] How are you?
-[Dilla] I’m great, how are you.
-Everyone know everyone?
-Yeah, mostly.
-How long y’all been on the block?
So I’m the newbie.
I’ve been on the block six years.
[Peter] You guys accept him yet?
[Dilla] Likewise.
[Dilla] Sometimes that misconception
of a space helps us
because people think
the South Side is sh*t.
I get a house for $200,000
that’s five bedrooms, two bathrooms,
finished basement,
two car garage, walk-out basement.
-So people can have
a normal blue collar job here,
buy a home, American dream-type life?
-Yeah, that’s it.
Third largest city in the world
that has off-Broadway,
arts, museums.
The Northwestern Hospital
is top 10 in the country.
We got high schools
that are top 10 in the country,
in the city, not the suburbs.
Our railroad, CT, public transit,
top two in the country,
but we’re not even in
the top five cost of living
or in top three population.
How does that equate? It’s impossible.
-Yeah, you’re top three population
in the country and then
cost of living, you’re way down there.
-Way down there.
-But I will say when I had to
pay tax at the grocery store
that didn’t feel good.
-Oh, man.
-That was weird.
-Yeah, in Cook County
it’s 10% sales tax too.
Even how I look at that…
It sucks that I pay taxes,
there’s 2.5 million people here.
And so we all gotta help each other
and that extra 50 cent gets on my nerves
when I’m buying something for $5.00.
But also right now we’re dealing with
a migrant situation that we didn’t create.
That I know those taxes
are helping to support, right?
My 50 cent may be the difference between
people beefing over a space
because taxes are helping
to mitigate those type of situations.
So I look at it more of we need to be
changing the wages of what people make
and then that tax thing
ain’t gonna matter so much, right?
Like if we change the dollar amount
what we paying people per hour
then they don’t feel that much of a tax.
-Dilla, we’re giving
your dog a little break
but what’s going on with the food?
-So there’s this Black-owned place
called Ain’t She Sweet
and they make these salmon egg rolls.
First of all, who knew
you could put salmon in a egg roll?
-But you gotta have one brother.
-All right.
[crunching]
Oh, yeah.
[Dilla] That’s great, right?
-You immediately want to bite it again.
-That’s awesome.
-They try to get locally sourced stuff.
So they go to rural areas
and the spinach comes from a rural farm.
It’s really a cool place
and it’s in the hood which is amazing.
-So Dilla, you call this the hood?
-Yeah, I think most people would.
It’s my neighborhood and I love it
but most people would say
I live in the hood.
So when you’re on YouTube and you see
these drive-by shootings and whatnot
is that taking place here?
-Yeah, there are.
-It happens?
-Yeah, I think the worst thing we can do
is not be honest about what we’re facing.
This neighborhood is Auburn Gresham
and it’s certainly has
a higher than normal violence
due to gunshots statistics
over here for sure.
-So you feel fine though walking around
here any time day or night?
-Yeah… I… uh…
That’s a very fair question.
I feel fine, I don’t know if I feel fine
with my kids walking day or night.
-But right now yeah?
-Right now, yeah.
[Peter] Most of it’s hard working
blue collar neighborhood?
-Absolutely, older Chicagoans
knocking on retirement.
A lot of teachers, a lot of firemen.
-So it’s hard for an outsider
to totally get it because the aesthetics.
Everything looks good,
it’s pretty well taken care of.
Everyone’s got a nice green lawn
but it’s just things could happen?
-Yeah, it’s the internet, right?
In my generation if two gangs
were warring with each other
some dude would go spray paint
f*ck you, that gang’s name on the wall.
But in the name of social media
you can get on Instagram
and you can disrespect
the other gang right on your reels
but the difference now
is they see your face, right?
So you become an easier target to acquire.
-Oh interesting, so Instagram
in a way is the new graffiti?
-For sure, Instagram
and YouTube is the new graffiti.
-I don’t see graffiti anywhere.
-The don’t waste their time
going to spray paint
the name of their gang,
or hood, any of that.
They project it online
so that more people can see.
-Does Instagram’s algorithm
suppress these types of videos?
-I think it sadly promotes them.
Because what’s the saying?
No one looks away from a train wreck.
People outside of Chicago will
look at these two people beefing
and almost cheer ’em on.
That’s the entomology of drill music.
So drill music is a hip hop genre.
It finds it’s origins here in Chicago.
So drill music is created in Chicago,
it’s found now
in South Africa, London,
New York, everywhere, right?
And it sadly is rooted in
you being able to articulate
your disrespect for the other side
in a rhythmic pattern.
So like you can rap.
And so if I’m saying f*ck a gang
but you can rap,
you can say f*ck my gang
a little cleverer.
Right?
Then how you’re saying it so clever
is making more people watch.
So now I’m mad
that you got the world teasing me.
So now I really want to come shoot you.
-Okay.
So if I’m listening to some drill music
and I’m not from Chi town,
I have no clue what’s going on…
-You’re missing it all.
-But imagine if one of those guys
from the rival gang
hears me listening
to that rival gang music,
they’re just like, “What the F?”
-So that does occur.
-Okay.
-And that’s the sad part about it because
if you from Baltimore, Italy,
Germany, Ireland, from whatever,
you come to Chicago,
you love this catchy song from Chicago
but you don’t know
the names in these songs
are real people that got killed, right?
So you’re playing music
even on your social pages
it sometimes can give the vantage point
that you’re siding
with one side or another, right?
And what that does
is it hurts the economy of Chicago rap.
Because since I understand the rules of it
and most kids in the city do
then that tampers
the amount of streams you get.
I will play your music more
but I don’t want people to think
I’m on your side of the gang, right?
So if we pulled even that part
out of our music
both sides would rise up
’cause you don’t gotta pick
you just enjoy the music.
Practically I would tell my 16-year-old
he can’t be in a neighborhood
that we call O Block.
He can’t play FBG Duck’s music
on O Block.
He can’t play O Block music
on the blocks that FBG Duck guys hang out.
Both sides make
very creative, artistic music, right?
-O Block is the projects here?
-O Block is the cultural name we’ve
given the space called Parkway Gardens.
-Okay.
-We’re gonna go by there in just a few.
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Now back to the video.
[Peter] Your old job, we just
went by a power transfer center.
-Yeah, that was a substation,
138,000 volt substation, Power Chicago.
-So do you miss that though,
doing that stuff?
-Oh man, an immediate
sense of gratification.
What we did was restore emergency power
or if a rat chewed through a power line
and then that building would lose power
and somebody’d be stuck in the elevator.
Our job would be to come find out
which line got chewed through,
isolate it and then put the building
on its emergency power, man.
Ain’t nothing like doing that
and there’s kids stuck in that elevator.
So once you do your job,
and you hear the power kick up,
[makes electrical noises]
Then boom.
The elevator comes down,
f*cking people in the lobby clapping, man.
It was a great feeling
and it was a feeling I got every other day
because it’s 2.5 million
people in Chicago.
A lot of buildings, a lot of property.
So every building
that loses power doesn’t make the news
but something’s losing power every day
just because stuff is old, right?
Equipment fails.
If the Chicago Marathon’s running
we used to go through
with counter-terrorism folks
and kind of show them
where we thought
was good hiding places for bombs.
‘Cause who knows the city
better than utility guys?
It contributed to the fabric of society
and yet nobody really knows, right?
-It’s behind the scenes totally, huh?
-Yeah, it was really cool.
-So why don’t you do that anymore?
‘Cause my social media channel took off
and Downtown there are no
power lines in the air.
Most of it’s underground so sometimes
I be crawling out of a manhole
and a dude would be
standing there with his camera,
“Ain’t you Dilla?
You the guy doing that TikTok?”
So it started to get
a little dangerous for our crews.
But then also
it’s an inherently dangerous job.
The minimum voltage of electricity
I was around was 12,000 volts.
So that’s gonna kill you
if you make a mistake.
There’s no talking about that.
Also the light company here was like,
“Chicago seems to like you, we don’t
want to be the dudes that take you out.”
They gave me a job,
now I do digital content creation.
-Cool.
-Which I also like because one thing
I’m doing is changing the channel.
The channel used to only be kinda
dimple in the chin white dudes, right?
Now I’m exposing minorities
to the utility trades and the fact that
you don’t gotta be an NBA player
or NFL player to drive a Charger
and have a nice house.
You don’t gotta gang bang, commit scams.
You can go keep the lights on Downtown
and have a good a** life, man.
-And so we’ll leave it
at the end of this video.
Your links, your TikTok,
your Instagram are awesome.
Full of historical nuggets here.
You also got the business
in the bus we were in earlier.
-Touring people around South Side.
-Yeah.
-So you’re a busy man…
and seven kids, right?
[Dilla chuckles] That’s job number one.
[Dilla] Now we’re leaving
Grand Crossing into Woodlawn.
Another very historic
South Side neighborhood, working class.
Probably 90% Black.
The Brown homies though are spreading out.
Which I think is cool as sh*t, man.
Brown homies from
other Chicago neighborhoods
are pushing their boundaries, right?
So what would be
this box of Mexican-Americans
that box is widening into black spaces.
Because as Blacks leave the city
or Blacks lose they property
or Black whatever the f*ck…
The Mexican-American homies
buy that sh*t and fix that sh*t, and boom.
-So is the Black population going down?
-Yes.
Every year twenty-some thousand,
it’s a very substantial amount of people.
-Why?
-Two reasons, right?
If your neighbor’s son get killed
and you got kids, you like,
“F*ck that, I don’t want
nothing to happen to my kids.”
We all live around where we eat,
who we know, where we go to church,
and all that other kind of stuff,
and anytime there needs to be
a land grab in Chicago
they take it from Black people.
So what I mean,
it was Michael Reese Hospital
on the lake front on the South Side
and when they thought
they would bid for the 2016 Olympics
they knocked down
a Black hospital with a trauma center.
The world now knows that Brazil
bribed their way into those Olympics.
So that’s why it was in Brazil in 2016.
The president had to retire,
it was a whole f*ckin’ ordeal
but Chicago knocked down a hospital
in a Black neighborhood
that had a trauma center
for an attempt at an Olympics
they didn’t even have in the bag, right?
And so that displaced the hospital staff
displaced people being treated
by the hospital, right?
They also knocked down
residential property
that people lived in
that worked at the hospital
to create an Olympic village
they didn’t even have.
It was not guaranteed,
you didn’t get the bid.
That’s another thing that drives
African Americans out of Chicago.
Like I said, Rahm Emanuel didn’t close
52 schools in White neighborhoods
or Mexican-American neighborhoods.
They were mostly in predominantly
African-American neighborhoods.
Now you’re left with,
“Do I make my kid take seven busses
to get to school in another neighborhood
where we don’t know anybody?”
or “Do I go live
with my Auntie in Houston now?”
Do you know what I mean?
You gotta make that decision based off
what’s best for you and your family
and I understand that.
I do blame some people though.
Like the me’s in the world, right?
You come up in Chicago,
play little league baseball.
Because of the city’s program you get
f*ckin’ little league and summer jobs
and all this other sh*t.
Then you go to college and get a good job
and then as soon as you come back
you run to the suburbs
and you don’t pour into
that pipeline that fed you.
Don’t coach little league,
don’t f*cking help with programs.
You don’t live in
the city that raised you.
So there’s some of that too.
The me’s of the world that have
made it out owe it to those spaces
to f*ckin’ go back and live.
‘Cause it’s the same problem
with suburbs too.
-So you’ll never leave here?
-I don’t think so. I don’t think so.
To my wife’s chagrin
I think it’s important that people who
don’t have dads in their houses in Chicago
see a dad in a house yelling at his kids
for not cutting the grass.
Just normal Americana stuff.
And I think I’m so successful
because I had it.
My dad was a cop.
My dad was probably one of three
live-in fathers on the block.
Not saying dudes didn’t have dads.
Maybe they dads lived somewhere else,
would visit on weekends.
But three live-in dads on my block,
my dad was one of them.
-Out of how many?
-Sh*t, it’s 18 houses on each side
of the street and two sides of the street.
So out of 36.
-36 and there was only three you said?
-Yeah.
-Three live-in dads.
-Wow.
-So of those three live in dads though,
he was a cop.
Right now there are four dudes
I grew up with that became cops
and if I asked them why you became a cop
it’s ’cause I saw your dad
pulling up in the squad car, bro.
Taking y’all to this,
taking y’all to that,
so I wanted to be that.
-So people need that good example,
that role model?
-Don’t steal my quote man,
but kids don’t take after strangers.
This is Cory Brook’s church.
Let’s see if he’s here,
you wanna spin here?
-Yeah, sure.
-This the king of O Block,
talk about perspective.
Anytime the words O-M Block come out
there’s a particular way.
The first way to do it
is to come to the person
who cares about the space
as opposed to being exploitive
like everybody else does in the world.
Before I take somebody
outside the gates of O Block
to point and say crime, and rap, and this.
I say, “See what’s being done to make
that space like every space in America.”
“Come meet the man, Cory Brooks.”
[Peter] What’s going on here right now?
[Cory] We’re having
the world’s largest baby shower.
We got about 1,100 women
with newborns six months and under
that we’re gonna bless with car seats,
strollers, play pens, diapers,
wipes, bath supplies.
Everything that a woman or family
with need… to get a good start.
So they’re not financially crippled
we want them to be in a position
where they can celebrate that.
That’s what this is all about.
-This is your organization?
-Yes, New Beginning Church of Chicago
but we also have a not for profit
called Project Hood,
and we’re building a $35 million center
right across the street.
The center is all about bringing
all of Woodlawn together.
Those who know about our area,
we’re on the block
that’s famously called O Block,
and named after Odee Perry,
a young man who was shot and killed.
But I decided we gonna keep the O
but we gonna change it
to Opportunity Block.
So we creating opportunities
for everybody in the neighborhood
and part of the building
a community center
is gonna help that endeavor.
-How are things going right now in 2023?
-It’s going good for us.
I mean other parts of the neighborhoods,
other parts of the City of Chicago
and the West Side, South Side
are experiencing spikes in violence.
We’ve been able to
bring the violence down in Woodlawn.
Which is amazing
being that Woodlawn
is one of the key areas
where a lot of the gang activity started
in the ’60s and ’70s.
-So O Block here in Woodlawn the crime
is actually going down right now?
-For sure, without a doubt.
A lot of the guys working here now,
they’re from O Block
and some of their people that they
used to call ops are here working as well.
So we’re teaching everybody to get along.
-What do you mean by ops?
-People who used to fight one another.
-Okay.
-People who used to be at odds.
People who just didn’t like each other
because they lived on certain blocks.
So we’re trying to
get rid of that whole mindset.
-This is awesome, so everyone
just comes together, helps out.
-All volunteering?
-Yep.
-How does it make you feel
to see it like this?
-Good, because that’s
what it’s all about.
If a church is in a neighborhood
and they’re not changing it for the better
what’s the point?
So I feel good that I know
we’re changing this neighborhood
and I know that people’s lives
are being transformed
and I believe
that’s what it’s really all about.
-[Dilla] So that’s what he’s building.
-[Peter] Oh, wow.
[Peter] Cory slept
on the roof for 100 days?
-Yeah, for a hundred days
in the winter too,
tents and that kind of stuff.
-Just to bring awareness?
-Yeah, absolutely.
-His hearts fully in it?
-Yeah, 100%
[Peter] So what’s the story with O Block?
I mean you can see it
on YouTube easily or hear about it.
-That’s only the half story,
it doesn’t tell you that this same land,
literally the same footprint
was White City Amusement Park.
It was an amusement park
that forbid Black people from going to it
the entirety of its existence.
And instead of staying open
and letting Black people go
they decided to close
and knock down all the rides.
So then in that same space
we built what we call
Parkway Gardens is the official name
but culturally we call it O Block
because of the death of Odee Perry.
But before it was public housing
it was a co-op.
Meaning the people
who lived there had ownership.
-Right?
-Mm-hmm.
-So when you have ownership
some people who live there
gonna be employed reasonably, right?
Some people who live there will get equity
in owning their condo,
or unit, or whatever.
When the ’70s happened
the place fell on hard times
like everything else in the ’70s.
Instead of giving them a loan like we do
millions of companies all over the world
the city bought it,
turned it into public housing
and didn’t give a sh*t about it.
Then they sold that public housing
to a company that’s in New York.
So a Chicago building has public housing,
it’s owned by a company in New York
that gets the Chicago
public housing dollars.
So they’ve made 300 million off O Block
and only spent 2 million security.
No millions on job security.
No millions on educating
the people that live there
No millions on upgrading the status,
or the apartments, or non of that.
-That’s a Chicago story.
Selling off your resources.
-You know the parking meters? Abu Dabi.
-Yeah boy.
-And then also there’s a road
that goes to a Canadian pension fund.
I forget thee name of it.
-Yeah, it’s the South Chicago Tollway.
-Yeah.
-And the Canadian pension fund
raises the price every year.
So they make more money every single year.
Like I said, we sold it
for pennies on the dollar too.
Didn’t make a big difference in what
we were trying to accomplish at all.
Yet we sold it anyway.
-Okay, so for those
that don’t know like myself,
O Block South Side, where we’re at now,
one of the harder-hitting
areas of Chicago?
-Thousand percent, yeah.
-Thousand percent?
‘Cause I was in Englewood the other day
and it looked a bit rougher I gotta say.
But give me the skinny on that.
-I mean I would say…
What did Tupac say?
“All around the world’s the same song.”
All right, so just like in
other South Side neighborhoods
it’s people that are active, right?
But it’s so complex.
-Right.
-When you grow up…
-And it’s complex but it’s simple,
You’re six years old, you grow up
with your best friends
in your apartment building.
Both of you guy’s moms work two jobs
so y’all take care of each other.
And then that guy
gets influenced by a gang.
But that’s your friend.
And so you guys grow up
and somebody kills him.
On every corner of the earth
a 17-year-old wants revenge, right?
If you go to Indonesia, Iraq, Iran,
you kill one of them dude’s friends,
you might get killed.
Their family might come back
and kill you, right?
And so then that happens.
And so then we have this terrible cycle
of back and forth.
No one intervenes
and then it kind of becomes this,
“He lived over here,
he was one of us.” right?
And so if we don’t go avenge him then…
If something happened to me
I want somebody to avenge me.
So in order to make sure
that I go avenge and it’s on and on.
-So okay…
-Let me put this into–
-And it’s a number of neighborhoods.
-Let me put this into a foreign example.
How long does the beef hold?
For example, in the Balkans
with Serbians and Albanians,
it’s like, “You’re great-grandfather
killed my great-grandfather, I hate you.”
Where in Vietnam the Americans
destroyed the country not that long ago.
You go there, it’s like pro-American,
they let it go immediately.
So how long does the beef stay between
the 17-year-old’s friend
that gets killed–
-A decade minimum.
-A decade?
-Right now we are…
So the violence that Pastor Brookes
says he’s mitigating now,
he’s mitigating violence
that started a decade ago.
[Peter] So what’s the way out of this?
[Dilla] I think it’s the youth.
I think it’s you get at
the second graders, third graders,
and you explain
conflict resolution to them.
You explain…
It’s all these arguments without,
again, people’s personal business
or sexuality, or that kind of stuff.
If a kid can understand
his fluidity in fifth grade
he can damn sure understand
conflict mitigation.
He can damn sure understand
that if a guy disses you on YouTube
that doesn’t mean you should shoot him
the next time you see him.
‘Cause you may regret that emotion.
We can explain to people
that logic forms later
and you’re gonna be
emotional about some sh*t.
So don’t let the emotions of it
get the better of you.
It’s the King Von mural.
-Who’s that?
-A Chicago rapper that was killed.
Move out the way for freakin’ police.
-I mean walking around here–
-They are there to tour right now.
In there trying to find a member
of O Block that they can pay
to walk them through
so they can Instagram and all that.
-Oh, really?
-This is a tourism destination
because the hottest rappers on earth
are from here.
-Interesting, so the ladies
dress all up to go to O Block.
-So now they f*cking treat it
like jail over there.
You see you gotta show ID,
can’t get in, yadda, yadda, yadda.
-You got someone lurks around there.
-All that security?
It’s a thousand percent security
and not securing the residents
securing people from getting in.
If you get shot inside them dudes
ain’t fittin to get up and do sh*t.
They’re there to tell people they can’t
come to O Block to take pictures.
They don’t want the tourists to get shot
dealing with what’s on the inside
but they don’t give a sh*t
about what’s on the inside.
As an institution,
not the individual dude that’s at work
or whatever company he works for
ain’t there to protect
the residents of O Block.
They’re there so if me and you
walk across the street
that dude’s gonna stop us
from walking on the inside.
So we don’t get into no sh*t
on the inside.
So the inside doesn’t look bad, right?
-What do you think the residents
of O Block think about all this?
People outside taking selfies, and me
going by with a camera, and that stuff?.
Some of it, they feel very exploitative
’cause it’s like, “Why don’t you come
check out the schools that suck?”
or “Where does your interest
start and stop?”
Is it only to get views and paid
or you want to change this space at all?
So there’s some of that,
but like I said, it’s opportunity, right?
And if we all look at it that way…
But if you open a store on the corner that
sells Lil’ Durk, Chief Keef memorabilia
and the proceeds go to non-violent
programs over there, right?
The other thing is history.
The modern civil rights era
starts in this neighborhood.
It’s not like a gross statement,
I’m not overreaching.
The modern civil rights era of America
starts in Woodlawn.
‘Cause most people think
it’s with Rosa Parks
wouldn’t give up her seat.
-Yeah.
-Actually if you asked Rosa Parks
what she was thinking about
she said, “I had Emmett Till on my mind.”
I’m taking you to Emmett Till’s house.
In August of 1955 Mamie Till sent her son
to Money, Mississippi to visit relatives
and what’s alleged
is that he whistled
at a white lady in a store,
and what’s not alleged
is that white lady’s husband
came to his house
in the middle of the night
kidnapped him, took him to a garage,
beat, tortured, and killed Emmett Till.
Tied an engine block to his feet
and threw him in the Tallahassee River.
The rope broke, his body floated
to the top and somebody found him.
His body was sent
back to Chicago and his mother
met the body at the train station
and instead of fainting
which is what I woulda did
she demanded that they open the pine box
and once she saw his mutilated body
she demanded an open casket funeral.
Because she wanted the world
to see what happened to her baby.
Then at Robert’s Temple
they had that open casket funeral.
Two Chicago publications,
The Defender and Jet Magazine
published the photos
and those photos are what activates
the modern civil rights era
in this country.
And because of the modern civil rights era
it’s the gay rights era.
There’s women’s rights eras.
There are so many things that xenophobia
has fought using the tools of civil rights
but it starts outta this house
in a neighborhood
that we should show more respect to
than just some gang banger, right?
-How does this feel for you coming here?
-Like sacred ground.
-As a South Sider, sacred grounds.
-This is the last set of steps Emmett Till
walked down alive in Chicago.
He was 14, right?
At 14 I had a favorite pair of shoes,
a basketball I loved,
I had things I woulda wanted to return to.
So when I come here,
when I bring people here on tours…
Um…
I acknowledge and understand
that I get to walk up and those stairs
and he never got to walk back up ’em.
For no other reason
than being a Black dude, right?
[Dilla] Two slick people
were able to turn a statement…
Which is a statement of fact,
Black lives do matter.
And turn it into something
that is now being argued about
why Black Lives Matter spent money.
I am a thousand percent
in agreeance that there is organizations
dedicated to Black Lives Matter right now
that can’t receive
the money that folks sent
to the organization of Black Lives Matter.
It’s totally okay
to have that kind of argument.
What I hope doesn’t happen
is that because now there’s
an organization named that
that the statement no longer matters.
That Black lives do matter.
It wasn’t created
to raise funding for anybody.
It was created because if you’re
a Black dude and you get pulled over
by the police and you reach for
the wallet that they told you to reach for
they can shoot you and nobody’s
gonna give a God damn about it
unless some store gets burned.
That should be
the start and stop of it for me.
-Okay, so when I see
the BLM sign right now or flag…
-Mm-hmm.
-To me, I have a negative response.
‘Cause I think organization, I think
90 million or whatever million grift.
-Mm-hmm.
-Didn’t go to any Black communities.
I see a lot of virtue signaling
in upper White neighborhoods
where people have the signs.
They think they’re doing
the right thing a lot of times
but I don’t see the benefit
for these neighborhoods.
But the statement I 100% agree with.
-That same concept can go with, right…
I see a Confederate flag,
I have a negative reaction to it.
-Because of what that represents to me.
-Okay.
-But someone else would say,
“Nah bro, this is just my culture.” right?
So I think it’s condusive to us all
to maybe meet in the middle.
This is the greatest example,
my friend Spencer Gould
shared it with me, man.
He said at the Morehouse graduation
they let the dude from Chick-fil-A speak.
And he’s known as this racist dude
and Morehouse
is this historic Black college
that ain’t fittin’ to let anybody talk.
Anyway he got up there and said,
“I did this thing.”
”I listened to my dad.”
He said, “My dad told me
to work hard and I’ll be rich,
and now I own Chick-fil-A.”
“My dad told me, ‘Marry a good woman
and life will be good.”‘
I’ve been married so many years.
“My dad told me
Black people are inferior.”
“That’s why it took me
a long time to unlearn this thing
because most of the stuff
my dad told me is true.”
And so what that taught me
was to leave space for people, man.
Because sometimes we’re repeating stuff
that we learned from a trusted source
and not everything
that source says is right
or correct, or true.
And not everybody that’s flying
a Black Lives Matter sign
sent that lady, or dude,
or whomever 50 bucks.
Some people are
legitimately flying it because
they don’t want to see White dudes
shot down on, Black dudes shot down.
I think we need to talk about that too.
Like there were immigrants
from Italy who were Catholic
who were lynched in the South
solely because they were
Catholic and Italian
or Catholic and Irish.
I think Irish dude’s lives matter.
I think Italian dude’s lives matter.
I think Catholic dude’s lives matter.
I also think the Catholic Church
has been responsible
for some really f*cked up sh*t, right?
So it be f*cked up
to conflate the two sometimes.
I think politicians and people
who are good at making money understand
that that will pull coin from us.
And us semi-smart people
gotta not play into it, man.
Because at the end of the day
red lining created these vacant lots
and something like red lining created
the vacant lots in Appalachia too.
-That’s true, I was just there.
They were paid in script.
Like the coal mining company’s currency
and that’s all they could spend.
-So World War II happens,
we got GI bills,
we come up with the FHA, right?
FHA loans say that you,
with a certain credit score put 3% down
and the government
will fully back that loan.
It didn’t apply to people
in the Appalachians.
It didn’t apply to people
in Black and Brown neighborhoods.
So because of that you get these pockets.
When you see a vacant lot in Chicago
please don’t think,
“Why was nothing ever there?”
Something was there, it got knocked down,
and they never reinvested.
Because we built the uniformity here
see those two different buildings
but kind of like it’s the same building.
-Sure.
-So that’s how Chicago lots work.
So that thing was probably here, right?
Let’s say you’re a good-to-do,
I love everybody
White dude from Sweden
that owns that building.
But you own that building
in a Black neighborhood
so it’s red lined meaning you don’t
qualify for governmentally-backed loans.
And that tree falls on your building.
How do you fix it?
You can’t, you don’t qualify for
a governmentally-backed loan.
-So okay…
Correct me where I’m wrong here,
the red lining was
four different tiers, right?
There was A, B, C, D.
A, would be the top tier like the banks
wanted to lend to those neighborhoods
’cause they were good
financial socioeconomic status?
-D, being the worst.
-Right.
-So it wasn’t necessarily like
the Swedish guy
coulda had the tree go down
on his house in this area.
-He’s screwed?
-He’s screwed.
-So it’s not necessarily
a race thing, it’s a socioeconomic?
-It’s the area got red lined
but who was the predominant
demographic in that area, right?
-Right, right.
-This area’s 80% Black
so that means forget this area.
What about the people
that ain’t Black that live here?
That affected them too, so if
you’re this Swedish dude, you own that,
that tree falls on your house
in a red line area
you can’t get a loan to pull the equity
back out rebuild, what you gonna do?
Knock it down,
take the insurance, move into the sunset.
-So red lining went away in what, ’68?
-Naw, sh*t… redlining in Chicago
didn’t go away until 1987.
-What?
-Because guess what we don’t talk about.
When we talk about red lining,
also insurance.
You could not make Allstate
or State Farm make their policy writers
write policy in Black
and Brown neighborhoods.
-Okay.
-So then the second problem
if I’m in a neighborhood
that’s red line in the ’80s
and I can only get
rinky-dink insurance on that building
and a fire happens
that rinky-dink insurance company
bankrupts itself when I file my claim
and guess what, another vacant lot.
Every student hates
a zero on their average, right?
If you trying to get an A
you need a bunch of fours to get a 4.0.
If a teacher throws a zero on there
that f*cks you, you’re all the way to a C.
So what happens
when you own this building today
and you want to get a loan on it.
but all these vacant lots are throwing
zeros on the values of this neighborhood?
So you could pay a whole
30 year mortgage off on it
for 300,000 and it’s only worth 330,000
because you’ve been paying interest
for 30 years, not getting equity
’cause it’s based off the value
of across the street that has sh*t
because of red lining.
-Okay, now in 2023 is the reason
your property price is such a value
is because of red lining?
-I think in 2023
red lining is why my house
was as cheap as it was, absolutely.
-Okay.
Now red lining is gone completely, right?
-Yes, I wouldn’t say completely
but the new thing now,
is the assessment game.
So right now if I want
to get a loan, equity loan,
I would take down
the pictures of my Black family
and put up pictures of you and your family
-C’mon.
-Swear to God.
-C’mon, really?!
-Swear to God.
I would put up pictures
of you and your family
and get 50 more G’s out of my house
than if I left pictures of mine.
-But when the appraisers do comps…
-When they do an appraiser…
-Mm-hmm.
-They’re looking at the home,
bedrooms, baths,
not the people there.
-Yes, but there’s a physical person
in there that says
something is of structure,
not of structure,
something is in this pristine shape–
-Okay, but it’s gotta be some of
the appraisers, not all of them.
-Yeah, so I… there’s no…
That’s another issue, right?
I’m not saying every appraiser
is poo pooing on the South Side
I’m saying that also there’s a trend.
And so if a quarter of appraisers
are undervaluing Black property
and you come in and overvalue,
they may say you’re a sucky appraiser.
What you doing different
than these other guys?
It… It permeates.
[Peter] So this school here,
Fisk Elementary,
in a neighborhood like this
are there crime issues?
Elementary probably not
but a junior high let’s say around here.
What goes on do you think?
[Dilla] I wouldn’t say
it happens in school
because sadly it’s so active.
If you decide to jump off the porch
you ain’t gonna be in school long.
So if you jump off the porch…
We say jump off the porch
meaning get active in the streets
at 13, 14, you can’t go to school.
Like I said, it’s different than….
Uh…
They still call this sh*t gang banging
and it ain’t gang banging, right?
It’s something totally different
because it’s way more personal.
In the ’80s and ’90s
you watch f*ckin’ Colors,
the dude gotta spray paint
some sh*t, right?
You don’t know who did it
till somebody claims they did it
and they,
“Yeah, I dissed you motherf*cker.”
That’s why there’s so much gang violence
in schools in the ’90s, right?
You know, in Compton and other places.
But now, again, you just get on
the internet and talk your sh*t
and once you do that
somebody can go to your Instagram page.
Like right now, “I see this dude,
is that the motherf*cker?”
“Yeah, that’s him.” start shooting
knowing exactly who I was trying to shoot.
So knowing that,
if they decide to get active
they don’t stay in school long.
-So literally three,
four blocks from O Block is this?
-University of Chicago where frickin’
sociology is a concept.
I’ll tell you something else that sucks
and they don’t mind me saying it
because they’re
working hard to change it
but from about 1900 to the mid ’90s
the University of Chicago
would actively tell it’s students
not to cross Cottage Grove.
Which is the street we’re on now
that takes you into
the Black neighborhoods
and that sort of thing.
Now they understand that
maybe college students living amongst
people in urban settings,
those college students
can teach them different things
and that’ll lift the space up.
That’s certainly what’s happening.
If you’re a sociology student,
why ain’t you living in the hood?
-Yeah, you gotta get out there.
-To study socioeconomics of the day.
-I think that’s just a big problem
of society in general.
People are in their bubbles
and it’s understandable.
you work, you have families, schools,
and you’re just not understanding
what it’s like bubble over, you know?
-Yeah.
-That’s beautiful, oh my god.
-That’s the armory, we can take a lap.
[Dilla] It’s the Richard Jones Armory
today, it was 124th Artillery Armory
back in the day for the National Guard.
It was built right before
World War I, you can tell
because of the uniform
that the guards are wearing.
So the youngest soldier is this guy,
he’s wearing World War I garb.
-Okay, you can tell?
-Yeah, so that’s a World War I uniform.
There’s the youngest soldier,
that lets me know this is an armory
constructed pre-World War I.
-Wow.
South Side has so much history.
-Man…
There’s a Civil War Confederate
monument on the South Side of Chicago.
-Still standing?
-Yeah, right now.
-Do people know it’s there?
-Most people do not know it’s there.
It’s inside of a cemetery, right?
So Douglass Confederate…
Camp Douglas Prisoner of War Camp
is where General Grant
sent Confederate Prisoners.
He sent them all the way to Chicago
because how they gonna affect
the war effort in Chicago
if they’re fighting
in the battle lines in the South?
They had 60,000 prisoners there,
about 6,000 of them died
because of the bad conditions.
So they were put in a mass grave
in Oak Wood Cemetery
and then in 1895, an act of congress
because the Daughters of the Confederacy
were enacting statues
and monuments everywhere.
There’s a Confederate monument
in Oakwood Cemetery
but because it’s in the cemetery
no one really gives a sh*t
because the cemetery
is where we honor dead dudes, right?
-Right.
-It ain’t in front nobody’s
f*ckin’ elementary school
making us all kiss Confederate balls.
You know?
As we go by every day, gotta salute
the dues that woulda shot us
in the streets.
That sucks but it’s in a cemetery, right?
They have the right
to rest in peace as everybody else.
We still on the South Side,
how far have we been from O Block?
-How many minutes?
-Five, eight minutes.
-At the most, right?
Now we’re getting ready
to be on the street where
a United States President’s house is.
This is probably by number, the largest
Jewish congregation in the city.
If you turn around you’ll see
a sign that the Secret Service
doesn’t want us over here
’cause that’s President
and Michelle, Barack Obama’s house.
-They still own it?
-Yeah, and live in it
when they’re in the city.
-No way.
-Yeah.
-They live here with this little security?
I mean no security’s here
but they just have a little fence.
-When they’re here Secret Service
is leaning on that fence though.
I wouldn’t doubt that Secret Service
is watching those cameras now.
Like it’s a thousand percent
that the cameras on their houses
are being monitored
by Secret Service 100%.
-Okay, so like everything,
whenever you put an easy label on it
it’s usually not true.
-So South Side is this also.
-Oh my goodness…
-Which is luxury, beautiful old homes.
-Million dollar houses.
[Peter] Wow, look at these places.
So he lived pretty well here?
-His wife was
a very well-off corporate lawyer,
and professor at University of Chicago.
He was an adjunct professor.
He had a couple clients, right?
The thing I just said
about Chicago, just take it to scale.
If I’m a middle class dude
and I got a decent house,
you’re a corporate lawyer dude
you have a decenter house, right?
-Because…
-Yeah.
-I mean this and some other places,
tens of millions of dollars.
These things in the ’80s
were not in the millions.
-Yeah.
-What’s up man?
-What’s going on?
My kids go to school over here,
my wife teaches over here.
-Are the schools pretty good over here?
-Yeah.
-Your wife, what does she teach?
-Chemistry.
High school chemistry,
sophomores and juniors.
Look at that house
built for horses, right?
There wasn’t no damn cars
when they built these mansions.
They got the coach house
converted to garages.
That’s where your horse
and horsemen would have lived.
Horse in the bottom, coachman up top.
-Oh, up there?
-Yeah, in the back.
-Oh, all the way in the back?
-Yeah.
If you walked around the corner,
you’d see those coach houses are huge.
They’re like the size of
two bedroom,
one bathroom ranch houses.
-And so in regards to red lining here…
-Was not red lined.
-There was no red lining.
-Right, so…
So we are in the same city
eight minutes away
and they qualified
for every kind of loan in the world
and eight minutes away they didn’t.
-I guess it totally depends on the year
but if you’re Black in 1974
and you had the money
you could move in here,
live here no problem?
-Oh yeah, yeah.
-Okay, but before ’68
maybe it didn’t matter?
-Even before that Hyde Park
had restricted racial covenants.
Two things, first, in this country
we have restrictive covenants, very legal.
From the late 1800s to 1940
80% of property owners
could sign on and say
“We don’t want people
who are not of European descent.”
-Okay.
-Then that neighborhood has a covenant.
That gets struck down
in the Supreme Court in 1949
and then that starts White flight slowly
and that’s when Black dudes,
Brown dudes can live anywhere.
But before that if you were Black
and you bought that house
your neighbor could sue
and take ownership.
-Pre ’49?
-Pre ’49.
-So after ’49 if you had the money
you could live anywhere?
-Yeah, pretty much.
-Okay.
[Peter] It’s like
old Bavarian architecture.
Guys, this is one of
the nicer neighborhoods I’ve seen.
It’s definitely better than
the neighborhood
I’m staying on the North Side.
-…always talking about Chicago
don’t care about the South Side.
People don’t care…
But people that live here are
gonna be picking up that trash all night
and when you come tomorrow
you won’t see any of it
even though hours ago there was
a parade with thousands of people.
-Yeah, that’s where we were.
[Dilla] My dad was a cop
and my mawmaw always used to say,
“Why did they give that guy a gun?”
So I made Homer a cop
and then my mom’s Marge, right?
This is Exodus 20:12 in honor to them.
Honor your mother and your father.
Of course, the man himself, Tupac.
Then as a historian
I like capturing history.
So this was a day in Atlanta,
Nipsey Hussle’s album release party.
This is that one night in Miami.
Muhammad Ali and Malcom X.
This is the first time
Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant played.
That’s my fist.
Then that’s Jay-Z’s Black Album cover,
he’s my favorite rapper.
That’s Ida B. Wells
and Angela Davis is back there too.
Of course, Martin Luther King.
-“Dream.”
-Yeah, you gotta dream
like Martin Luther King.
This is the Sankofa bird.
In African proverbs you see
his feet are going forward.
We all should move forward
but he’s turned around
to plant a seed for the past
so that the people behind him
can also fly forward.
So as a historian
that’s what I think I do.
I’m trying to move forward
but every now and then
I turn around and drop nuggets
of the past that remind where we are.
-So you’re always between two worlds then?
You’re in the past and the future?
-Yeah, absolutely.
-You’re a pretty optimistic guy.
-Looking forward?
-All the time
-You gotta know your history?
-Otherwise you won’t get there.
That’s the South Side story right there,
a lot of amazing novels.
But it’s a particular one called
A Tale of Two Cities.
-That really defines us.
-Yeah.
That’s a great way of saying it.
-It’s like extreme one or the other.
-Yeah.
-Feels like.
-Yeah.
But overall it’s the same I would say.
I’ve been in these impoverished places
on the Palestinian side.
I’ve been in impoverished places
in Old Jerusalem.
I’ve been in impoverished places
in Amsterdam.
Man, everybody wants
their kids to do better than they did.
Everybody wants to wake up
with an opportunity
and it’s the same on the South Side.
So what I most appreciate is that
you didn’t come here to be exploitive
and you watch YouTube and a dude
will drive around Chicago for a whole hour
and find nothing that looks nice.
That’s an impossibility, right?
You drove the same three
f*cked up blocks 10 times.
That’s whack man, don’t do that.
So thank you for at least showing
the entirety of the city.
-Right, right.
Guys, I really want you to go to
Dilla’s pages, TikTok, Instagram.
-Absolutely.
-Those are the top two?
-Instagram, TikTok, I’m on Twitter
as long as there’s still Twitter.
You can catch me at the 6FIGGA_DILLA.
-6FIGGA_DILLA on all platforms.
-Okay.
He’s got really cool reels about Chicago,
awesome historical knowledge.
Stuff like we saw today
and you also have tours here
if someone’s visiting?
-Yeah, if you’re coming to Chicago
and you want to see more than Downtown
check us out
www.chicagomahogany.com
-Book neighborhood tours,
take you all around the city.
-Okay, thank you, bro. Appreciate it.
-Thank you, man.
-Thank you for coming along guys,
until the next one.
♪ jazz ♪

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