Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities

By Darnell Hunt; Ana-Christina Ramón | Go to book overview

Introduction
Dreaming of Black Los Angeles

Darnell Hunt

Over a fast-paced montage of images—Los Angeles’s downtown skyline, home-lined hillsides, street signs—and accompanied by a hip-hop-inspired musical theme, we hear the voices of several black teenagers:

Male #1: Welcome to Los Angeles …

Female #1:…. our Los Angeles

Male #1: Baldwin Hills.

Female #1: City in the Clouds.

Jonathan: Not all black people live in the ’hood.

Moriah: Some of us live in big houses with amazing vistas.

Ashley: We are the sons and daughters of doctors, actors, and athletes …

Seiko:… as well as policemen, nurses, and teachers.

Lor’Rena: This is where the Black Beverly Hills meets.

Stack The mean streets of Crenshaw and Inglewood below.

Aungel: Some of us are blessed with opportunities …

Justin:… and some of us will always struggle for a better tomorrow.

Gerren: But what unites us is greater than what separates us …

Sal:… because we share more than just a neighborhood.

Female #2: This is Baldwin Hills … and this is our reality.

So begins a typical episode of Black Entertainment Television’s Baldwin Hills,1 a scripted “reality” program that debuted on the black-oriented cable network in 2007. Developed by a white production company,2Baldwin Hills was among BET’s most popular shows in 2007. It was seen in nearly 1 million black homes coast to coast when it debuted and was reviewed

-1-

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