Photography: The Hundreds
If they were asking me what is Harlem even one year ago I would have answered: well, Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Today, everything’s changed. Harlem now represents the place where artists such as A$AP Rocky and Azealia Banks come from, repping their neighbourhood with proud.
The 20-year old rap artist recently sat down with the New York Times opened up on her experience while growing up in her neighborhood insisting that she had a fulfilled childhood despite being surrounded by a rough atmosphere:
“We lived in Harlem just, like, at the beginning of its gentrification . . . but my mom had our apartment since she was 18, she worked a retail job, but she worked on commission, so she made like, maybe, 75 or $80,000 a year, but our rent was so cheap since it was, like, rent-controlled, so our rent was, like, $300 a month for a two-bedroom apartment, so we always had extra money. I grew up very spoiled . . . like I had everything: I had computers, I had video games, I had dress-up clothes, I had lipstick, I had heels — not like, actual heels, play heels — I had dolls, I had birds, I had hamsters — my mom did a really good job of keeping me stimulated.”
“I’ve come from the ghetto and it’s really hard’ thing? Well, I came from the ghetto but it wasn’t hard for us, y’know what I mean? Because I lived on the block with kids who were, like, crack babies. I had other aunts and uncles who lived in other parts of Harlem, and I’d go with my cousins and we’d be out on the street, y’know . . . I had a healthy juxtaposition of, like, good and bad.”
You can read the article “Hothouse Flower” in its entirety here.