OPINION: Leaving Los Angeles, Starving For Black Culture

After several years of living in Los Angeles, I’ve decided it’s time to leave. Los Angeles has become the land of the haves and the have-nots and to me, it’s not fun anymore.

With its blazing sunshine and beautiful weather, there are also homeless and unhoused people on almost every corner and under almost every bridge and this includes young college-aged kids who have come here to pursue dreams of being in show business.

This is a side that is almost never seen or showcased on the TV shows and entertainment news shows that are filmed here but there is a very sad side to Los Angeles and it’s prevalent.

The Other Side of Los Angeles

Super high and escalating rents prevent young people coming here from finding housing so it is not uncommon to see them going through the trunks of their cars early in the morning with out-of-state license plates looking for something to wear for the day before they head over to one of the local gyms to take showers and prepare for the day. The one thing a lot of them have in common is that a lot of them are black and people of color.

‘Living in LA’ has an immediate at times feigned relationship with success and no matter how hard it is to stay, it’s also very hard to leave depending on what you need from the city even when in dire circumstances. You always feel like you will miss something if you leave but you may also miss something if you stay.

You Can’t Beat the Weather … or can you?

I will greatly miss the blazing sunshine that I wake up to each morning, the beaches, beautiful real estate, and the friends from all walks of life that I have met over the years here but there is one thing I will absolutely not miss, that is the extreme lack of and disconnect from black culture. There is nothing holding me here at this point so I’m At this point, I am willing to trade the sunshine for four seasons. After all, I love the fall.

Where is the Black Culture?

There are many people here who show pride and are constantly surrounded by their own cultures but I’m finding it increasingly more difficult to find and participate in my own black culture.

I never realized how important culture is until I got older and I want to be connected, to the music, the food, and the actual people.

In cities like Atlanta, New York, DC, Memphis, and Chicago you can literally walk out your front door and be surrounded by black culture but in LA you have to drive several miles, depending on your location, and go to certain parts of town like downtown LA, The Crenshaw district including Leimert Park and Carson to locate any semblance of Black culture.

Los Angeles is VERY spread out and traffic is almost unbearable at this point. My friends have done a diligent job at convincing me to stay when I was ready to leave before now, it’s just time to enjoy life and be around a greater sense of community. I miss my community.

I don’t work in the entertainment industry so I’m not obligated to an agent or auditions like some of my friends who make the same complaints but feel like they have to stay here.

How Many Black People Live in LA?

In 2020, there was a total of approximately 363,789 black people living in LA in 2011, in 2020 black people in LA was 348,701 the population of African Americans in LA has been decreasing since 2011 but the overall population has been increasing from 3.783 million in 2011 to 3.973 million in 2020.

Recently, there has been an announcement of a mass exodus, pertaining to the cost of living and COVID over the last two years from San Francisco and Los Angeles to other cities so the number of black people leaving LA is probably even higher at this point.

Just Do It

There are some decisions that are not worth telling your close friends and family about because they will often see things from their own perspective and encourage you to do what they THINK they would do, so I have told very few people in my personal life and have started the process and I’m excited about the next chapter of life.

If you are thinking about moving to LA, I would strongly advise you to make sure black culture is not at the top of your list for things that you want from the city.

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