Pittsburgh; a place I never expected to end up in. It was 2006-2007 and I was 19 years old. I was tired of working two jobs and taking classes online. It was time to move out of my hometown, and start pushing my dream to be a designer.
Living in Pittsburgh for one year felt like a lifetime. School sucked- I only enjoyed one of my professors (My english teacher (who funny enough told me that I belonged on the west coast)-so… not even part of my design curriculum). The classes were humdrum. There were a few classes where the teacher literally photocopied the textbook and pasted it into a power-point presentation. I was angry, young and entitled. I was also one of the few students paying my own college tuition (which I’ll be paying off for the next 10 years!).
Despite how much I despised college, I was determined to make the best of it. That’s when I stumbled upon the most extraordinary group of friends and support group. A highly creative group of individuals. Those who made art their world, started at the bottom, and took dead-end jobs to pay their way through. But most importantly, they took care of each other. I loved that. ❤
The Pittsburgh Crew became my family for one year. We cooked each other dinner (Norman’s famous spaghetti night), shared groceries, threw parties together, played video games, helped out on projects, and participated in activities in and around the Allegheny community.
Darnell & Link (Illustration) would bring us all McDonald’s after working the late shift, and be spitting out incredible drawings every day while managing their own fashion start-up “Mad Panda” (yes-I was a panda model…how could I not?). Miranda (Film) would entertain us with her wild stories, and work the night shift at Arby’s, downtown. Tommie (Film) would be spouting off jokes, and working at the YMCA. CJ Phillips and Brandon (Film) would always be sharing scary movies and yelling “Chili Dawg” in the hallways. Bekah (Interior Design) would go on crazy adventures with me, and get lost in the outskirts of Pittsburgh as we discussed our dreams of designing the world. I even spent a day rescuing Mookie’s (Video-Games) car out of the impound while singing “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” in the parking lot.Spencer (Illustration) would be leading us all on athletic activities to keep the fam in shape…aka kick the can around the Allegheny River, and Manhunt in the abandoned mall. There was also Marcus, Auggie, Kilo, Chris, Norman, Brittany, Eric, and Danielle. I’m probably still missing a few people…
I owe a lot to this group of people, even though they teased me on the regular for being a white girl and having abominable dancing skills. They built up my confidence, and assured me that I was a-okay 😉
The reason I chose this album for this post is partially because…well, I freakin’ love it (’bout to go H.A.M.!!!), and partially because it exudes confidence in a world of hate (Lies on the lips of a priest).
I never really experienced any type of African American culture until I spent time with The Pittsburgh Crew. I lived in a perfect little bubble in suburban America where it was predominantly white and conservative.
I remember talking with a few of the crew members one day about their experiences with racial profiling, and getting pulled over by cops for no apparent reason. In my bubble of a world, racism was something of the past. These days, as we see on tv, it clearly is not. Racism is still alive and well in the US of A. Exhibit A:
This is SPARTA! (Millz & Mookie)
Tomorrow: “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” by Outkast…Heyyyyyyaaaaaaaahh 🙂