Gentrification (noun): The process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. 

Have we ever tried to find beauty within gentrification? A diamond in the rough, if you will? Stylist and model Chi Ilochi, alongside photographer May, also known as naibovisuals on Instagram, made it a point to find the beauty within this travesty. The vibrant colors, somber contrasts, bright head-wrap, and clothing can make any viewer find hope in the middle of a terrible epidemic. Does it give you hope? It gives me hope, that’s for sure! Unfortunately in all beauty, there is an underlying ugly truth.

Nearly twenty percent of neighborhoods with lower incomes and home values have experienced gentrification since 2000. Forty percent of those neighborhoods, gentrified by 2013, have displaced more than twenty thousand people. Disheartening, but there’s still hope.

To those who may read this. To those who are victims of displacement due to gentrification. To the ones who’ve experienced friends move away due to gentrification. To the children, who are still residents in these “coffee shop” neighborhoods once known for black culture. You are kings and queens who can and will change the world in spite of all this. You are filled with grace and life. You are filled with light. You possess a story. No matter what America may throw your way, little black boy and girl. You are still and have always been Kings and Queens.

If you ever find yourself forgetting your power, look at these images by these two gifted creatives. They will always provide you with hope.


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