From Falling in Love With California to Waking up There

So this morning I woke up, rolled over, and looked out the window. This was my view.

Sometime in high school, I became obsessed with West Coast culture. I think my obsession came from the music.. and maybe with the help of my ex boyfriend.

I'll never forget meeting this guy. He was weirdly cool af, in a way that made me feel like it was cool to be my kind of weird. Every time we hung out, I was excited to hear what he would play. His playlist was pretty dope, though I wasn't really into music at the time. Unless it was Beyonce. I'm always into Beyonce. Amongst a lot of firsts, the first time I heard Dom Kennedy was with him.

I remember riding around the streets of Jackson, MS. (lol).

We would do teenage things. Ride around the city, chill at abandoned parks, sneak into movie theaters, sit at the reservoir watching the ducks, and there was always music playing. No matter what we did. It was like our lives were a soundtrack. He introduced me to Dom's Yellow Album. I'll never forget hearing Gold Alpinas for the first time. We were sitting in his car, doing something we probably weren't suppose to be doing in some back parking lot.

Anyways, I was obsessed ever since.

I started listening to Kendrick Lamar's Section.80 and Overly Dedicated. That's around the time I fell in love with Jhene Aiko. Her feature on Growing Apart was dope. She was on a few Drake songs at the time too. I played Sailing Souls almost daily. I was particularly kinda obsessed with Dom Kennedy. He talked about how amazing California weather is. Hell, he just sounded good.

My ex's favorite rapper was Tupac. Surprisingly, I started listening to Tupac.

I started doing research on Tupac and those he came in contact with: Snoop Dog, NWA, and Dr. Dre. On their careers, their backgrounds, the time periods. I was intrigued by the current events of the time and how artists were rebelling with music. I even wrote a six-page research paper on the media's and politicians' influences in the notorious East Coast vs West Coast hip-hip feud.

There were underlying messages in their music. In a time where most of my friends were doing the Soulja Boy and learning how to stanky leg, I was intrigued with how west coast music told stories.

I created a "For Cali" playlist.

One that featured Jhene, Pac, Dom, Kendrick, and Snoop, among other artists' songs that I knew I could vibe too, whether they were Californians or not.

So aside from the music, I eventually grew up and found what it meant to be "woke". President Obama was elected, and I started noticing a different side of the friends I had grown up with. In high school I had two type of yt (if you know you know) friends: Ones that respected both facts and my personal opinions, (and maybe even a little of why I had those opinions), and then those that took to social media or publicly disrespected my ideals, my values, and my very existence.

I hope both types of you are reading.

I started college at the University of Mississippi, a university with probably the most public and blatantly racist histories in the country, but that's for another post. I began to stand up for what I believed in in college. I met people and saw many different perspectives, both those I agreed with and those that wanted to make me pull my hair out, but I listened.

I met people from California.

I learned how progressive California is. I saw the second black woman elected to the Senate in 2016 in California. I saw the women's rights, gay rights, and many more marches in almost every city. I learned that San Francisco is full of LGBTQ pride. They host the biggest Pride parade in the country. I saw San Francisco pass a law to provide free community college. I saw California pass laws that would both directly and indirectly benefit its minorities. I saw Mississippi's government steal money from the public education system, I saw people that never set foot on my university complain about the removal of the confederate flag instead of poverty or poor education, and I saw the same Congressmen get reelected that didn't do shit in the first place.

With social media's help, I saw California's sandy beaches, great food, diverse people, and diverse ideas. In college, I got to meet people from California who looked a lot different than me, but who respected my beliefs and values, many that actually agreed with me. I saw something much different than what I was use to in Mississippi. I saw a land of opportunity.

I was in love with a place I had never been. California seemed like a place I should experience. I made a goal.

I'm just a little black girl from a small town in Mississippi with a dream. I didn't look for a way out for the looks, the Instagram pictures, or for the lack of love of my humble beginnings. I just wanted something better for myself.

In June 2017, I was blessed the opportunity to move to San Francisco, CA and start my career in the advertising industry.

Yesterday I moved to California.

This morning I woke up, rolled over, and looked out the window at the land of opportunity. Never stop dreaming. <3

#California #westcoast #tupac #domkennedy #sanfrancisco #inspiration #westcoastculture