Gentrification has swept many Black neighborhoods across the nation, forcing many residents out of their own neighborhoods.
While many communities struggle to regain control of their neighborhoods, South L.A. is working to be a model for how to promote Black homeownership and combat gentrification.
Music manager Daniel Carter started Buy Back the Block L.A. — an initiative to help educate South L.A. residents on how to fight gentrification by buying properties in their neighborhoods — in the wake of Nipsey Hussle’s death as a call to action for his community.
According to Carter, Hussle’s death “left a huge scar in the community,” Curbed Los Angeles reports. “I felt like at one point his spirit kind of burst into a million pieces and everybody got a little piece. I feel like our piece of it was this real estate thing.”
Carter’s effort to continue Hussle’s mission for more Black ownership sparked a campaign to rally brokers, house flippers, and loan officers together to educate residents on various financial topics such as raising credit scores, securing loans, and more, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Homeownership is very difficult in Los Angeles because of pricing and lack of inventory, particularly for a group of people trying to get over the social hurdles we are trying to get over,” Carter tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Communities that were traditionally Black like Inglewood are starting to become not Black. We are watching the walls closing in from all sides.”
Carter has been operating Buy Back the Block L.A. for over a year now hosting monthly meetups for attendees to learn more about the initiative and what they can do to help protect their neighborhood.
His ultimate goal for Buy Back the Block L.A. is to “rebuild Black Wall Street,” which references Greenwood, the Tulsa, Oklahoma district that was once the wealthiest and most affluent region for Black people in this country.
Members of the organization include Hollywood players such as LaToya Tonodeo and Arlen Escarpeta who both joined while in the process of buying a home in South L.A.
“There’s so many layers to Black Lives Matter-ing. It’s about reform, it’s about justice, it’s about generational wealth, it’s about fair wages, it goes across the board,” Escarpeta said.
Buy Back the Block L.A. is just one of a few organizations in Los Angeles fighting to dismantle gentrification and its impact on Black communities.
”We’re anti-gentrification, and we’re unapologetic about it,” Carter tells Curbed Los Angeles. “We don’t want to see people who grew up in these neighborhoods get pushed out. This is our neighborhood. This is our culture. These are our streets.”