Black Beverly Hills
Written & photographed by Jon M. Dailey, III
This is Frank Ocean’s Sweet Life:
"A domesticated paradise, palm trees and pool, it’s the sweet life.”
- Frank Ocean
Affluent. Bustling and full of life. Community focused. Three neighborhoods: Ladera Heights, Windsor Hills and Baldwin Hills, bore one of the most successful predominantly African-American enclaves in the nation. The people of these communities dedicated their lives to ensuring that each generation that followed would triumph from the lessons and growth of the last, supporting one another in times of both great difficulty and unimaginable success.
You’d walk through neighborhoods that once stood proud with a population of career driven, well-educated black families pushing individuality and greatness, only to live in a time that now floods these same streets with a different outlook on gentrification and disparities in social class and racial equality. As if “we” don’t belong or “appear as threatening or suspicious” due to the opinions and perspectives of the taste of sweet lies. They’ll speak on seeing the brighter side and building yourself up to escape the world that denies you the voice you were born with. The same community where we pay our tax dollars and contribute our physical efforts shows us that mercy and justice only belong to a smaller fraction of individuals, aside from our moral rights. As if our pain, endurance and sacrifice aren’t etched into the very sidewalks, buildings and gleaming success of what we call “Black Beverly Hills”.