“So at some point people realized that Oakland is lit. They told a friend, who told a friend who told a friend who told her friend and yeah, now it’s fucking weird as fuck.”
Your name and age.
I would just say DAGHE, people that know me know my real name, but I’m 34.
What neighborhood of Oakland are you from or would you associate with?
Um shit, I’m originally from West Oakland. I lived out here until I was like 13, 14. Then I moved to East Oakland, but all of this time throughout I went to North Oakland schools, so I felt like I’m kind of from North Oakland. But originally I’m from West Oakland. And East Oakland, just kind of roamed around there like later in high school. So I feel from everywhere. But my roots are in West Oakland & North Oakland.
Can you talk a little bit about what was it like growing up in the town?
I don’t know, The Town, I don’t have anything to like reference off of, you know what I mean? It’s just home. It just like a very eclectic places, like all kinds of people. But I really don’t have anything to like bounce it off of, I have no reference other than this place that’s Oakland, you know what I mean? I really don’t. It was just, it’s normal. It’s regular.. I used to be a roaming ass ass kid. When I was in West Oakland. We used to run all the way to Berkeley, either walking or by bikes, yeah, biking all around here. It’s crazy cause like I’m from the top of the West Oakland, from 18th, so we didn’t even go down to the Lower Bottoms and Acorn or anything like that. For awhile we didn’t go there. We would go to downtown Oakland and roam around there. So it’s crazy to even see how the Uptown was. Cause we used to be in downtown Oakland, like we used to roam around there, JJ Newberry’s Emporium Capwell and shit like that. So it was so vast. It’s just my life, nothing is like a major moment. Everything is just a part of the journey, you know.
When did your family come to Oakland and do you know what the reasons were?
My dad came to Oakland on a school visa to do art at San Francisco state. And he went back and married my mom and brought her here in then they from this side of the apartments and they move down to the other side. And before this apartment was like a mostly Nigerian occupied apartment complex and then it changed to a predominately Ethiopian/Eritrean apartment occupied complex after years. But this was like the apartment that all the Nigerian stayed in back in the days, like the first generation Nigerians. The original Nigerian settlers in the 70s and 80s, late seventies, early eighties. And they moved to West Oakland. A lot of them moved into these apartments right here.
Was it mostly like Nigerians from a certain area?
I dunno, but I don’t believe so. Because my dad is ASAN and a lot of people came in the nineties I went from ASAN cause they started an organization called the American Studies Association of Nigeria. So I don’t believe so. I think it was just like people that came with the student visa during that time, because all this shit comes in waves. So like the Eritrean people and the Ethiopian people were probably here because of a visa that opened up in their country at the time. So it just like that’s how the migration goes. It’s all in waves and shit. So they came and populated the apartments because something happened in their country or you know what I mean? Not something like a bad incident, but maybe like they opened up the visa lotto or you know, they started giving out visas \ to people.
What does it mean to you to be an Oakland native?
It means everything. It’s just like you got tough skin and you get a piece of all cultures in one, you know what I mean? I travel a lot, it’s not like other places where you are your reality, no, here you’re reminded every day that there’s somebody else not like you. You know what I’m saying? Your classrooms are very diverse. You’re just forced to learn about different cultures and you understand that there’s other people other than you. Every school there’s another race that’s like majority. So it was black people and then maybe white people, then you might have a Filipino school or you have alot black people, then you have a Hispanic school, so on and so on. But there’s always some other race that’s teaching you something. You have no choice but to know what another race meals are like or what they cook or you know what I’m saying? Or like, I dunno, like racial jokes. We say racial jokes in Oakland all the time because we always have, you know what I’m saying? Before this shit was like PC, we would cap on our Asian friends, and they used a cap on us. And it was cool because we all were just around each other so much. It was just a thing, you know what I mean?
We are in a different age now and where it’s hella PC, but like in Oakland, we’re so close to each other that we make fun of each other because of stereotypes, you know what I mean? But in a good in a funny way to them. Not on the Internet, literally to your friend, you know what I mean? I give it credit for like making me who I am and make me worldly before I started traveling it made me already understand different people and how I’m not the only person in here and my reality is not the only reality.
I’ll feel like your kinda touching on it, but if you want to go deeper, what do you feel like make Oakland special in comparison to other cities?
I feel like we’ll make Oakland difference cause it’s just too much shit packed in here. You got so many different cultures. You have Chinatown, you have East 14th that’s predominately Hispanic. You have legitimate middle class white people here that have to go to school with lower class anybody’s. We had the same resources. And this is a public school town. So not many people go to private schools in Oakland. Everybody’s just forced to go to school with each other. We’re just forced to interact, other people don’t have to interact. When I go to different states for tourists, they don’t know anything they’re not forced to interact. Even Donald Trump MAGA hat people, the kids they just don’t interact with other people. They’re not even bad people. These guys don’t even know how to hate yet. Like they don’t even have it in them, the world hasn’t even gave you enough to hate, but you don’t interact with other people. So all you know is your reality. You don’t never have to look in the mirror. And so now you can guy conjured up that hate but you really don’t hate, those kids don’t hate. So out here, you just already know what’s going on in the world. It was like a depiction of what’s going on in the world. You know what I mean? . It was like the fucking Disney land ride. What’s that shit called?
Yeah, it’s like a Small world. (Laughing)
Why do you think people were so eager to move here now?
I mean for one reason, it just is closer to San Francisco. If you get a job to tech industry, but also it’s like a lot of these motherfuckers that’s not in tech and they’re coming out here and just working and getting jobs and doing normal shit. It’s because like, I don’t know that’s what happens with anything dope. Motherfuckers are going to find out about it and people are going to want to go there, where it’s tight. And for a long time we were lucky enough to that everybody had this bad impression of Oakland. So everybody had his bad impression to Oakland, so people didn’t want to come here. People from San Francisco didn’t want to come here because Oakland was so bad. Oakland was this, Oakland was that. When people in Oakland, we’re sitting here like this is amazing and we have everything and it’s chill and is a little bit more affordable then San Francisco. And then somebody blew the whistle. Somebody came over here and blew the whistle and shit, The spot was hot and everybody just ran in. We always knew what it was. But it takes one person to come over here for a party, to a bar to meet their friend, their Oakland friend and then to go back to San Francisco and tell them, hey, it’s kinda cool out there. So it just takes one person and eventually they found out like we got top tourist places to visit in 2014 or 12 or some shit. It was like 15 or it was like four years ago, it was like best restaurants or some shit like that and that really blew it up. That made it really hot. I made people be like, Oh for real?! It made people be curious to see what’s going on. And they found out it’s really cool and it’s not that dangerous. If you’re in the hood, hood shit is going to happen. But like if you’re not of the hood, why would you go to the hood? It’s only residential. So when people realize that and stop being dumb and they realize hold on, things are happening in places that things happen anywhere. Impoverished places where people are bred to like conflict. You know what I’m saying? They don’t have resources and shit. Motherfuckers are going to shoot. You stay away from those places. You got Chicago and Chicago’s hella beautiful, but they get hell of flack because of the violence that goes on in the corners in those impoverished places. So at some point people realized that Oakland is lit. They told a friend, who told a friend who told a friend who told her friend and yeah, now it’s fucking weird as fuck.
What do you wish people knew about Oakland before they came here? What would you tell a new neighbors aren’t the good guidelines to be in a good Oaklander?
I wouldn’t tell them nothing, bro. It’s just no point, bro. You can’t tell somebody to understand something that they’ll never understand. You know what I’m saying? It’s like a culture and trying to teach people culture that they will never understand. They don’t even know how to take pride in this. Everything is a move. Everything is a fad for these people. You know what I mean? So there’s nothing I can tell you that you would actually, Absorb. You know what I’m saying? These people, especially these white people, they don’t give a fuck about anything bro. They don’t care about shit. They’re just cookie cutter people. You feel me? They’re not coming with like a lack of perspective. You feel me? It’s nothing you could tell those people, bro. I wouldn’t even waste my time. It is what it is, this is a cycle. When you have something good, everybody’s going to jump on it. I’ll listen to like gentrifiers talk in Uber pools and shit like that and it’s like bro, you’re so lost. You don’t even know. You wouldn’t know anywhere. You just happen to be here. I can’t tell you to have some cultural, can’t tell your respect our city cause you wouldn’t do it anyway. I can’t tell you to understand that there were people here before you, but you got all these young white males that’s coming into the city with money. I can’t tell you shit. To you, you are already at the top of the totem pole. Nothing matters. These people don’t matter. You don’t even understand that people were moved out of their homes for you to get there. So it’s no point. You can’t talk. I just laugh now. I used to really be mad about it. I just laugh now because I’m just like, I can’t do anything. All I can do it just just pray that I can be here and do what I can do. What’s necessary for me to stay here. But these people don’t give a fuck. Right. They don’t care. Like they’re scooting around this motherfucker, like Bra. They’re coming from with some other somewhere else coming to a place that they came because it was unique and then they’re bringing the shit that from other places and bringing it to the place that was unique, which is crazy. That’s crazy. Like they’re bringing their restaurants bringing the exposed ceilings and the exposed beams and the white coffee shops. It’s like, motherfucker, that’s everywhere you came to Oakland because we don’t have that type of shit. And when you got here, you brought it here and now is not unique anymore because you brought the shit that you were running from to here. It’s likes some Christopher Columbus type shit, but you can’t say nothing bro. He’s just sad bro. It’s just what happens. Detroit is going to be saying the same thing next man. It’s just what it is. Yeah, it’s fucked up, it’s frustrating, but I’m not battling it no more. I don’t know if that’s cowardly and me, but I’m just fed up.
Are there particular particular things that they’re changing that you really don’t like? I feel like you’re starting to touch on it, but if you want to dive a little deeper?
I’m a worldly person, so I do benefits from like the little nuances that just to vacation brings because a lot of this things that they brought, we already were doing that out here. We were already chilling at cafes as we were already doing the fucking hipstery shit, but it wasn’t everywhere. But we found it, so I do benefit from it so it’s cool. And new restaurants is cool and that’s cool. But most importantly the real root of it is people are getting displaced. People are getting moved out of the city because the landlords, and it’s really on the landlords. Landlords are raising these people’s rent to the point that they can’t live there no more. And I’ve been in a situation where my landlord tried to kick me out. Twice. Tried to kick me out for like late rent or some shit, but you can’t kick somebody off for late rent. You know what I’m saying? You either want the money or you don’t want the money. He was telling me don’t even give me the money. Bruh, it’s late bruh. First of all, I’m wiling out, I’m chilling, I’m working, I’m not thinking about rent. I don’t even want to give you this money that I have for you. I was waiting until the last minute. So he tried to kick me out for like paying rent. Oh No, I went to Japan actually I went to Japan. My rent was late after several times, but I always pay rent. It’s been seven years I paid rent. He was like just keep it. Nah Nigga, I’m giving you my rent because I’m back in the US and then he just took me to court. I worked for myself, so granted I can go to court but I seen people losing their homes. You feel me, losing their apartments, like the people we know. I seem people we know in court losing their shit, because they can’t come to court. People just losing it period. Cause, one they didn’t fill out their paperwork on time. When you get took it to court, you have to file paperwork to and then two people are coming to court and they can’t miss it. It’s a long period. You can’t miss a day. Of course cause you’ll lose the case? You miss a day of work, you lose your job, you know what I’m saying? Or are you losing money to pay the rent? So people were getting like people are losing cases just based on I can’t make it and that’s what these landlords are doing. They’ll fucking take you to court and then just draw it out. You feel me a one month process. The average person can’t do that. I’m lucky enough to be a DJ. I work at night. But I seen motherfuckers lose my home and then there’s going to be somebody that’s going to fill those spots and they’re going to pay triple the prices. So it’s like, fuck the restaurants. That’s cool. Whatever. That’s commercial property. But it’s like literally homes, Bro. People are getting moved out. I know friends that are getting moved out of their homes. Right here. So somebody else, if they’re renting, they getting moved out and some people had Victorian homes in West Oakland. We’ve got nothing but Victorian homes out here. Some of these people, they got hit with the crack era and shit. Now you gotta crack head that owns their grandparent’s house, his grandparents die. Crackhead sells it to some fucking random do for whatever. 50,000, like they’re doing anything. Who owns his shit? Oh yeah. Okay, cool. A crackhead dude, I got 7K for you. What?! Okay! You know what I’m saying? And they’re selling these homes in West Oakland, these Victorians for nothing. It’s not the restaurant. We can keep them coming, it’s bigger than that. It’s just little shit, the underlying shit that you don’t see, and I wouldn’t have even known about it until, until I was in those situations twice. It’s bigger. It’s deeper. It’s deepened than the restaurants. That’s just the shit for them to do. But it’s like motherfuckers really getting kicked out their homes. It’s not the new buildings.It’s not the fucking sky rises that they’re building. It’s not that, that’s cool. Built them all over the place. It’s the people that literally losing their homes. I don’t give a fuck about the restaurants. I don’t give a fuck about these cats that’s riding scooters. I don’t give a fuck about that shit. I don’t give a fuck about any of it, but people are losing their homes.
On the flip side of it, are there new changes that are happening in the city that you’re excited about?
Last question is what are your hopes for Oakland moving forward?
Mmmmmm My hopes for Oakland? I don’t know. Oakland is a tight place, man. When you got something so special it’s bound to have people come and try to run it and try to explore it and try to be all in here. I just hope that we just see more black business owners, more minority business owners. I pray for everybody to keep their spots and like realize that value in it. Yeah, you can get a big home in fucking Antioch or moving further somewhere out of the way, but it’s like you can’t leave or if you can stay, you’ve got gotta stay, you know what I’m saying? This shit is worth more than gold. A lot of people ran out of Oakland in the early two thousands to Antioch and Stockton. And I just wish they would have stayed. It’s just like, I don’t know man, life is life bruh. And evolution is evolution. I don’t mind to be the one to keep anything like it is cause everything deserves to evolve. You know what I’m saying? But it’s like Oakland is a special place and it will always be special. I think it’s an amazing place already. Other than a the gentrification shit that you have is just a part of cities and how cities work. I just hope that more people from Oakland understand the beauty of Oakland and try to get property in Oakland and also established businesses in Oakland. Any race, black, white, whatever. If you’re from Oakland, I feel like you need to establish something here and run it in a way that Oakland people would appreciate it. The people of Oakland, even if you have other people here, but it still should have that Oakland culture. Even if it’s cater to whoever’s catered to, it’ll just have that underlying culture. I feel like that’s getting lost a lot in some areas of the The Town, in the downtown areas, in new areas that’s populated with the gentrifiers . We got to establish our own businesses, and more than just throwing parties and shit like that. Cause like it’s simple. I realize that native of Oakland, the only thing they do is throw parties and Dj and shit like that. And I feel like we’re needing in different things, we need to providing different services. Cause if not these motherfuckers going to provide it for us. They gonna provide some shit, they want and put a price tag on it and they’re gonna make it look like they want to make it look like and they’re going to make us feel a certain way when we walk in. So I feel like we need to meet to establish more businesses.