They want to put an image out there that would look good to upper-class society. The charity that I want to give to is the place I grew up. Talk about the contrast between the favelas in your native country and Queensbridge Houses. I remember helping my parents make that, so I learned at an early age how to use your resources. I said to myself, “This is nothing like home.” When I was growing up back in Rio, everybody would talk to you.
You were a member of the tenant patrol for many years. I used to sit in the lobby and greet people as they came in. You’ll sit up there and buy a ,000 to 0,000 watch, but that kind of money in the hood could go a long way in starting programs. If you try to say “hello,” they think you’re crazy. That’s in line with my morals, values, and beliefs. I went to live in California and stayed for five and a half years. I don’t want to put any names out there, but there are famous people who are from Tompkins Houses who claim they’re not from here because it’s a blemish. If you’ve made it and you have money, what’s wrong with taking one of these vacant buildings and opening a space to help out – a space to teach job training skills? Jayro has recently released an eponymous 14-track album of experimental rock fusion under the nom de plume “There’s No Such Thing As Giants.” How long did you live in Queensbridge Houses? We had to go out and hustle and find the means to get what we needed. But here, no one would talk to you; they’d ignore you and just go their own way.Today, public assistance is about keeping you right where you’re at. When they asked me to send in my housing recertification, my daughter was getting unemployment, so I had to send in her papers too, and my rent doubled.It’s indentured servitude, but you never get the chance to work out of it. * * * A native of Augusta, Georgia, Sharon Jones arrived in New York City at the age of three. If you didn’t, for the most part it was because he died in war. It was always “Mrs.” Beverly, or “Mrs.” Gail, or “Mrs.” Johnson. Instead of them fixing the refrigerator to the point that it actually works properly, they give you all these instructions.
It’s so interesting to reflect back on those times and know that everybody had a father in the home. You see them across the street, but they close their doors. So, I saw the positive aspect of being together as a group of people. * * * For the past three years Yvonne Shields has been a sous-chef at Broadway Community, Inc., a community kitchen housed in the Broadway Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. But just to get into the projects, you have to give up all this information about yourself. It’s just so confining to me that it feels like a compound. If you want anything done to your apartment, you have to go through all these different changes. So, what you’re telling me is that I have to shop every day so my food won’t spoil?
What are your strongest memories of your neighborhood? Before you find out what life is truly about in these harsh realities. These kids nowadays don’t know what any of that is about. Do you think there were programs that the city could have put in place that could have saved your fallen comrades?
He is also the founder of Chillin’ On Da Corner & Beyond, a series of outdoor film screenings, health fairs and community resource events held in his native Bedford-Stuyvesant. Playing childhood games, whether it was basketball, softball, baseball, football. Running around, bike riding through different neighborhoods, playing tag and skelly.
That’s where I lived when I first came to New York. When I first got to New York, some of the greatest musicians I knew were living in housing projects. All black communities in New York were infested with heroin.
What would you say to people who think that housing projects are bad places to live? He has released two solo albums and still maintains an active performance schedule. What are your first memories of stepping into the projects of New York City for the first time? A lot of people didn’t want to move out because there was no reason to. But I know that it was just recovering from a very heavy heroin situation.
I feel like most people are on the outside looking in, or on the inside looking out. There’s nothing good coming out of it.” Someone else can always raise an objection and point out an example of something good.