Tag: immigrant

Rap Heat Coming from a Latino: Music in L.A. with Sal Roses

“What you give is what you get,
But I only give respect,
Where I really think it’s due,
Tell me who the hell are you?

Sal Roses is a Salvadoran American writer born and raised in the City of Los Angeles, whose parents hail from the Pueblo of Santa Rosa de Lìma, La Union, El Salvador. As a member of the ‘first’ generation of his family in L.A., Roses’s world was one where a survival & entrepreneurial mentality at home often clashed with the systemic nature of American schools, work and life. Before finding himself as an artist, Roses would navigate through violence and abuse at home and his environment, financial instability, and the process of discovering his voice, eventually learning ‘to turn mud into gold.’ He now seeks to influence the world through music emblazoned with messages of confidence, self-reliance, and determination to turn one’s dreams into reality. 

1. Who are some of your earliest musical influences?

Parents are always first. They introduced me to Latin music, including cumbias, románticas, and all that good stuff. But it wasn’t until my cousins introduced me to hip hop that I saw the most for myself in the music. They introduced me to Chicano gangster rap, and that’s when I really started to visualize what these artists were going through. I could see it going on with my primos.

2. Tell me about Appetizers, Vol 1. What led you to this name for your EP?

It’s just a taste! And you can’t have the entree without a set of appetizers. It’s a build up to the full course of art we intend to supply. At 3 songs it felt like the perfect follow up to Killing Other People’s Beats The Mixtape (KOPB The Mixtape). Appetizers Vol. 1 also gives me creative freedom to drop a snack whenever I feel like the people are hungry for it. Just gotta stay hungry.

3. Tell me about the Spanish verse in Now; why did you choose to include Spanish in your opening song?

It was very important to include Spanish on this first project. Spanish and English have been equally important in shaping me to the point that it would have been wrong to leave out a verse in the latter. Plus, now more than ever, you can feel the strength of the language; it just carries a little more weight these days.

4. What do you make of Latinos in Hip Hop in 2019?

We’ve been consumers of Hip Hop from near the beginning but have gone mostly under-represented for a while. As a market, the Latino culture is being targeted more than ever before in the music, but it also calls for creatives like us to fill in the missing pieces. There are still so many stories to be told, so many thoughts to be brought up for discussion, deep rooted issues that need addressing. Our true contribution is still being formed and that’s the most exciting part about it.

5. And so, what if Adam ate the apple first?

This is my favorite line in the whole project! Imagine a world where, for all intents and purposes, Adam took that bite instead of Eve. Would men feel more inclined to push for gender equality? Would we want women to treat us differently? I say this as someone who considers themselves a feminist, pushing for true gender equality and not gender overcompensation. To me it’s thought-provoking, like a whole different world can be imagined just based on that thought.

Sal Roses; Summer 2019

6. Tell me about the drums in Richard’s Drums.

I was making this beat, and my drums were sucking bad. Every single sound before the drums excited me, but when I got to them, they kicked my ass. So I called Richard over, and in like 2 minutes he laid it down. We named the track after him in that moment.

7. Who else would you like to shout out now that your EP is out?

I’d like to shout out anybody and everybody whose been supporting our movement. So much work has been put in behind the scenes just to get to where we are right now. It’s still so small-scale that having true support from people who believe in what we’re doing has been instrumental in creating not just music, but a movement, a mobilization, a future. Thank you all.

To check out Sal’s Appetizers, Vol. 1, find his album on Spotify HERE.

J.T.

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Super Pan Bakery of the Virgil Village Is Being Displaced from Our Community

Elvia Perez and her family have owned Super Pan Bakery in the Virgil Village community at the intersection of Virgil and Monroe avenues for over 20 years. On any day of the week, locals could stop by the bakery on a crisp morning with less than five dollars for fresh pan dulce or sweet bread, breakfast bolillos made of eggs, cream and frijoles, warm chicken tamales, and even a cup of coffee. In a community of immigrant families where the majority of family members work at or below minimum wage, items and prices like these not only represent culture, but protect it, providing a sense of place for young and ‘old’ residents alike.

In 2017, ownership of the building where Super Pan is located changed hands, and in hopes of a fresh start with the new landlord, Elvia and her family sought a written lease agreement for the bakery with the incoming owner, then Miguel Palacios. Miguel assured the family that he would sign a lease with them, but only after they made repairs to the space.

Doña Elvia then invested over four months’ worth of time into repair and renovations for the building, including the installation of a new ceiling, new floors, and new electrical routes through the space, all of which she paid for out of her own pocket. The renovations were completed March of this year, but when Elvia presented the repairs to Palacios in search of the lease agreement, Palacios refused to sign any agreement with her.

Earlier this year, Miguel Palacios sold the property to another landlord, though not without falsely stating to the incoming owner that Doña Elvia and her family had only occupied the space at Virgil and Monroe for just two years prior. When Elvia and her family met with the new owner’s representative, then, they informed him that this was false and and that they had the tax documents since 1998 to prove it.

Although the representative sympathized with the family, however, he nevertheless informed them that sixty days to leave the property was the best he could do for them.

On August 16, 2018, the new ownership of the space gave Doña Elvia and her family a 60 day Notice to Terminate Tenancy.

As of this writing, the family now has less than 23 days to leave their 20-year-old bakery behind, where Doña Elvia’s children and even grandchildren have grown up.

Although Doña Elvia and her family are disheartened by the whole affair, they are still willing to take their things and relocate as need be, though given more time.

They would like from the new owner either assistance in finding a new location for the bakery or some financial support for their oncoming losses. Ultimately, however, the family is willing to settle for simply more time than the 23 days now looming. They would like until the end of the year to be able to gather their things, which includes more than a score of bulky items, tables, and other belongings which take time to disassemble and relocate. This cannot be an impossible request from the new ownership to grant the family, but now it’s incumbent on the community to support the family in their ask.

Over the next few blogs, we will outline a few different ways that we can support Super Pan Bakery. In the meantime, to learn more about Doña Elvia and her bakery’s place in Virgil Village, supporters can do so at This Side of Hoover HERE.

J.T.

Los Angeles Was At its Finest Yesterday

 

And it was with you, Jesse.

J.T.

Coming Home: Working the Registers in Los Angeles

Vermont and Monroe Avenues, Los Angeles
Vermont and Monroe Avenues, Los Angeles

In this second year for JIMBO TIMES, things are a little different. It’s a wonderful difference, because the changes with the blog are actually aligned with the changes taking place for the blogger.

As I wrote at the outset of the second year, J.T. is about honoring my mother, at the same time that it’s about recognizing the place of the ‘third world’ in Los Angeles.

Over the last two months that I’ve been at work in The City, I’ve been at the heart of this ‘third world’. In L.A., it’s a galaxy comprised of so many immigrants, or the children of immigrants, who work long and difficult hours for very little money.

They are mainly immigrants from Latin-American countries, but they are also from Asian and European countries, and all of them –at least as I have known them thus far– are humble people.

And it’s a beautiful thing, to think about the way humble people learn to live with one another. I see this most clearly at Starbucks, particularly when shorter of build, brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking customers–like yours truly–walk in to the place.

Often times, when such customers arrive to the counter, there’s this funny and familiar look in their faces, as if they recognize me from somewhere.

Naturally, I can only return this funny look, as if I recognize them from somewhere.

However, because neither of us can quite make out just where we might have seen each other, it’s as if we’re each a little embarrassed to meet at Starbucks, of all places; as if meeting at a McDonald’s playground or the local park for a birthday fiesta would somehow be more appropriate.

Of course, both the customer and I only briefly smirk at this –and in an ambiguous way– but once the familiarity is established, it’s like we’re cousins running into each other out on the town again.

This is especially humbling when parents walk in looking for some kind of frappuccino for their kids (as the kids run amiss in the background somewhere). Most Spanish-speaking parents can’t quite pronounce frappuccino, but they do know that the one their kids like is served ‘con caramelo‘.

When I then pronounce ‘caramel frappuccino‘ for them, the parents smile; I’m helping them get on their way. And I smile: they’re helping me get on my way too.

This is what makes the ‘third world’ such a fascinating world to be a part of in Los Angeles. It’s not a world steeped solely in financial hardship, but one that’s got a little bit of everything in it just like any other culture.

It’s also a world that’s wrapped up in moments. In a city moving as fast as ours, it’s easy to drive past all of L.A.’s character, but if it’s not clear yet, at this site readers have a place to reflect on the oft-hidden or unseen warmth between the people who live here.

As the second year of JIMBO TIMES continues, then, it will be my pleasure to expand on this.

With more soon,

J.T.