I’m a ‘70s baby, but the nostalgia of the ‘90s lives in my heart. I mean, we’re talking fashion, music, and the culture. Representation on the television and the movie theaters was being seen from shows like “Martin,” “Living Single,” and on the big screen “Boomerang” and “Boyz in the Hood.” It was everything, but the ‘90s also showed up in ways I couldn’t imagine. The crack epidemic, gangs, poverty, and racism were more in my face then I could ever imagine.
I entered the ‘90s as a 13-year-old Black girl who was ready to pump her fist “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud!!!” To rapping along with Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.” I lived in Denver’s very own Park Hill neighborhood, which was the mecca for many Black folks. It was a sense of pride that we have arrived. Hardworking Black families, well-manicured yards. You could feel the pride that many of us had in our neighborhood. “Park Hill Strong,” we were. However, inequity reigned over us like the shackles of our ancestors. I saw families fall from grace because of the crack epidemic and friends being prosecuted for the distribution of selling marijuana. Sort of ironic since it’s now been legalized here in the state of Colorado and a few other states. Any given Sunday gunshots would ring out, and it was starting to feel like a normal day in the neighborhood. White officers would patrol, and at times you didn’t know who was worse the officers or the criminals? To me they were all one in the same.
Fast forward more than 20 years, Blacks are still fighting for equality, new drugs have emerged and brothers and sisters are still locked behind bars for the distribution and sells of marijuana first offenders with no end to their sentences in site. Racism now has a camera, to show the world what’s really going on, and Park Hill is no longer the mecca for Black families, but instead the new face of gentrification.
But still if I could go back in time, I would go back to the ‘90s; it’s where I found my voice, when I found bits of understanding of how the world worked around me. My first boyfriend, friendships built to last a lifetime, and how those moments of the past would set me up for the woman I am today. Yep, it’s the ‘90s for me.