What We Can Learn From Living in the Hood

Konnichiwa, dudes and dudettes!  Today we are going to talk about valuable lessons learned.  Not just any valuable lessons, but lessons that we can learn from living in the hood.

Many of you may not know that my toilet bowl was not always made of 14 karat gold.  I know, I know.  It may come as a shock to you, but I too, did not grow up with palm trees and rollerblades to get me from point A to point B on the boardwalk.  In fact, my neighborhood was quite the opposite.  But despite the bald patches in the lawns of my neighborhood’s less than grassy pastures, there are a heck of a lot of things that I’ve learned from living in the hood.  And it’s time to pass on my knowledge to those who daringly turn their nose up to some of the world’s most seemingly tainted communities.

Pack your bags kids, because after seeing all that can be gained from living on the wrong side of the tracks, you may just be ready to plan your next trip to a neighborhood where your best bet is to double-bolt the locks on your doors!

Lesson #1 ~ The Value of Discipline and Respect

In any ‘hood’, one of the first two things that you learn is discipline and respect.  Discipline begins with what your parents teach you at home and is usually supported by a thin switch pulled off the closest tree or any belt pulled from whatever pair of pants your daddy is wearing at the time.  Both [the switch and the belt] are enough to keep your ass in check when they strike your behind like stray bullets.  It may sound a little harsh, but it’s a consequence most misbehaved kids have to endure for being disrespectful to their elders…aw hell, being disrespectful PERIOD.  Things like stealing, sassing and lying are most common reasons for getting that ass tapped.  Also getting caught making out in the basement with no adult supervision anywhere in the house (every kid on the planet knows they aren’t supposed to have company while their parents aren’t home) or sparking up a fat blunt are sure ways to reserve a one way trip to WHOOPING WORLD. KIDS, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU. Luckily, getting back-handed in the lips is what most parents go for today, just to remind their kids of what is to come next.

NOTE: When daddy’s belt is unleashed, run for your life!  When grandma’s switch is swinging, bob and weave. Only be sure to get hit on purpose at least once. The more granny misses with that switch, the angrier she becomes and the worse the whooping is. FYI, if your parents send you out to pick out your own switch, just keep on going.  Don’t bother going back in the house.  Pack a PB&J sandwich and run-away. Don’t come back until you think your parents have forgotten they owe an ass whooping. PS, good luck with that. Parents don’t forget something as important as hopping on that behind!

Keep in mind, though, that in the hood, it’s not just your parents that have all the fun of whooping your tail.  It’s also the neighbors.  There’s a little saying that I grew up with that goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” which to me says everyone in that village has a right to spank you when you’ve screwed up.  Having said that, respecting the rules and knowing your place as a child are the keys for not getting popped.  As you become an adult, you’ll quickly remember the sting of whelps the next time you want to get out of line and disrespect someone.

…AND in case you didn’t know, children are not the only ones susceptible to a spanking. Adults can get out of line and say some slick shit, too. When they do, they should watch out. You never know when you’re going to open your mouth and your daddy steps out, reaching for whatever belt you’re wearing at the time. #PutUpYourDukes

 Lesson #2 ~ Appreciation for the Simple Things in Life

Let’s be real.  Most people live in the hood or the projects because they just can’t afford a better grade of land.  It’s not a bad thing.  The hood has the best parties – that is before the cops arrive to break up the fight that almost always inevitably causes the party to go awry.  But because most [or let me speak of my own personal experience] project dwellers do not have much, appreciation for the simple things is imminent.  Things like:

  • Kool-Aid, the least expensive beverage on the planet…next to tap water, of course;
  • Oodles & Noodles, the cheapest, easiest and most popular dinner choice of all the little greedy kids that selfishly grub on noodle juice at the playground;
  • Cable TV, because it saves money on aluminum foil.  How does it save money on aluminum foil?  Simple.  Thanks to cable TV, aluminum foil is now only used for kitchen duty and no longer for getting a better reception when wrapped around a television antenna.
  • The final piece of appreciation is beer.  On almost every street corner in the hood there’s a liquor store.  Beer is the cheapest of alcoholic beverages and probably the most easiest to get.  As you become old enough to stop sneaking sips of the malt beverage or slick enough to stop paying random dumb adults to purchase your booze for you, you save money on your spirits when you’ve finally graduated to a higher class of associates who like to hang out in nightclubs and local bars.  While they’re spending loads of cash on their gin & tonics and long island iced-teas, you’re saving your Benjamins on bumbers, 24oz and 40oz sized Steele Reserves and Budweisers, leaving you plenty of cash in your pocket to load up on the economy size family pack of oodles & noodles, which will come in handy when you’ve blown all of your money on something completely worthless. Not referring to beer of course. Beer is not worthless. Beer is a culture of the hood.

 Lesson #3 ~ The Appreciation of Music 

One can’t deny that music is a big part of living in the hood.  Granted, you may not hear Mozart, but it is very easy to be reminded of the tribal drums of Africa, thanks to the sounds of particularly loud bass echoing through the speakers of a pimped out ‘hoopty’, usually at the most disturbing hours of the night.

Lesson #4 ~ Social Interaction  

Because there are all types of people and personalities in some of the city’s most questionable neighborhoods, we learn the value of diversity.  As a result of living in these neighborhoods, we are able to gauge the best way to deal with some of the best and the worst people.  For example; bullies, winos, hustlers, hoes, nosey neighbors, crooked cops and Jehovah’s witnesses.

You’d be surprised how these types of people integrate into today’s society and dress up their debatable personalities in the common workplace.  Living in the hood gives you an advantage over when and how to run and duck for cover when you see these folks headed in your direction.




  Lesson #5 ~ Fashion Awareness 

Fashion is the final piece of hoodiology, because no matter what you don’t have [while living in some form of the projects] the one thing that everyone does have is a means to get a brand new outfit to wear to the club, even if that outfit consists only of a spanking white pair of tennis shoes, which nobody better step on if they don’t want to catch a beat down before the last call for alcohol.

So many people misconceive those who were raised on a little bit of nothing; who grew up on back alley streets; shadow-boxed and played street football because they couldn’t afford to attend stadium sporting events; whose credit is bad and who has criminal records longer than some of the wrap sheets of some of Hollywood’s most notable out of control young starlets.  But the thing that they don’t know is that some of society’s most capable people are born and raised right in the crappiest of neighborhoods, where values and responsibility is surreptitiously at its highest peak and free fun reigns supreme.

Never forget where you come from or what you’ve learned from where you’ve been.

Quote of the week:   “Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.”

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Interview with the Blanche Devereaux of the Projects

Many say that you only fall in love once, but there are some people who believe that theory to be total B.S.  For those of you who don’t believe you can find true love more than once in a lifetime, you obviously haven’t met LaShawnquonifa Latoya Fu – “FuFu” for short; the Blanche Devereaux of the projects.  HottywoodHelps.com sat down with FuFu to get her take on the subject of love.

“It couldn’t be a colder day on the planet where I stand in front of an ice cream truck, shivering in me’ knickers, in the middle of a neighborhood where the only thing that looks safe is the corner stop sign.  Finally after checking my watch for the fourth time, up walks the fabulous FuFu, clad in her oversized bamboo earrings, gold teeth and kinky tracks.”



Hottywood:  What’s up, beautiful?  Come here and show me some love!  You’re looking delicious as always.


FuFu:  Thanks, boo-boo.  You know how I roll.  You wanna taste?


“…Now if the ice cream truck in the dead of winter in the middle of a neighborhood where everyone wears designer bullet proof vests wasn’t a big enough  DO NOT ENTER sign, FuFu’s stank wedgie walk and peek-a-boo sandals should’ve been the only red flag I needed.  I could barely take in all of her tackiness because my eyes were locked on her cold ass toes.  On the bright side, any ice cream truck that sells steak & cheese sandwiches and chicken wings, whether it’s the winter time or the summer, has got to be worth the risk.”

Hottywood:  Uh, no.  I’m not real particular on leftovers, but thanks for the offer.  But that’s what we’re here to talk about, right?  I hate to get right to business but it’s colder than a muhfukkah out here!  HA!  Eh look, thanks for taking the time to talk with me.


FuFu:  Oh you know I’ll do anything for you.  You can get it!


Hottywood:  You play too much.  We can talk about that later, off the record.  For now let’s talk relationships. As I’ve been talking to people off the block, I’ve learned that a lot of folk believe a person can only fall in love once in a lifetime; twice if you’re lucky.  But you seem to be the exception to the rule.  You’ve managed to find love many many many many many times with just about every dude in the neighborhood.  There are names for people like you.  “…Social Butterfly.”

“I bet you thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you?”

Hottywood: What’s your secret?


FuFu:  First of all, I ain’t no weak ass butterfly.  I’m a cross between a sting ray and a peacock.  Mmm hmm.  Yup.  And B) the secret is, “keep no secrets.”  People who keep secrets have something to hide.  That make people don’t trust you and stuff.  I just keep it real with people and roll with people who keep it real with me.  Especially dudes that keep it real.  Mmph!  That sh*t is sexy as a mug!   But see, some of these hoes out here be thinking they can bottle their sh*t up and sell it.  I ain’t like that.   I ain’t selling my sh*t fo’ nobody!  That’s just nasty.


Hottywood:  Um…  Cause if you sold it that would make you a whore?


FuFu:  Yeah, boo!  There you go!  You know what I’m talkin’ about.  And I ain’t nobody’s whore.  I respect myself too much for that, shuuuu.

“I have to be honest with you.  FuFu’s high pitched voice is slowly tearing the inside of my ears.  I really don’t know what the hell she just said and her chewing gum is damn near trying to jump out of her mouth.”

FuFu:  When I kick it with a dude I’m down for whatever.  Ride or die chick, like Eve.  But Ion’t get down until I know it’s the real thing.  Love.  True love.  Dudes don’t be trying to show their feelings cause they want to look all hard in front of all their boys and stuff, but when we be kicking it at his house or my house, or around back in the laundry room stairwell, they always tell me they love me.


Hottywood:  …Okaaaay…so explain to me how you’ve been so “lucky” to fall in love so many times and particularly with every guy on the block.  You don’t think that’s a little ironic?


FuFu:  Ion’t know.  I guess it’s just meant for me to have a boyfriend or something.  It’s just meant to be.  Right under my nose ring.


Hottywood:  Do you have a boyfriend now?


FuFu:  No, not right now.  But it’s funny ’cause as soon as a guy just stops calling me, one of his friends comes up and tells me he’s been eyeing me er’y since I hooked up with whoever just broke up with me.  Next thing you know, they be bringing me french fries with extra salt, pepper and ketchup and buying me all these drinks at the club and stuff.  Ion’t know, something about a man who wines and dines me just gets my coochie wet, you know?


Hottywood:  And just like that you move on from your last relationship on to a new one…?


FuFu:  Mmm hmm.


Hottywood:  And these relationships are serious[?].  And physical I assume.  They tell you they love you; do you love them?


FuFu:  Of course I love them.  Ion’t just sleep around unless I know I love somebody.  I’m a classy b*tch.  Plus I like french fries.


Hottywood:  Wait.  I’m a little confused.  So they tell you they love you and then ya’ll go do your business?


FuFu:  Yeah.  Whatchu think this is? Ion’t know why, dudes just be falling in love with me real quick.  It must be my pretty smile or sum’in.


Hottywood:  But these guys all know each other which obviously means they know about you.  You don’t think it’s a little strange that your ex-boyfriends’ friends suddenly become interested after you’ve broken up?


FuFu:  What’s strange about that?


Hottywood:  You’re right.  What could I possibly be thinking?  Do any of your exes call you?


FuFu:  Whatchu mean, for like booty calls and stuff or just to talk?


Hottywood:  Yeah.  What you said.


FuFu:  They do, and we’re cool and stuff.   Well, except for me and my babys’ fathers.  But er’ybody else is cool.  I just don’t let none of ‘em come over if I’m dating someone else.  That would be disrespectful, you know what I mean?  Oh and Ion’t want my kids to see all that, you know?  I gotta set an example and sh*t.


Hottywood:  So if you’re not dating then they can come over for a conjugal?


FuFu:  A what?


Hottywood:  A conjugal…  …a booty call.


FuFu:  Oh.  Yeah, why not?  Ion’t have no problem with that if I ain’t committed.  And sometimes they be telling me they miss me and want to come by to give me money to get my hair done or buy a new fake Louis Vuitton bag or some shoes or sum’in.  So you know it’s all good.


Hottywood:  Oh well that’s different.  That’s not to be confused with putting yourself out there for money though, right?


“Does anyone else see RED FLAGS all over this???”

FuFu:  Unh Unh.  I ain’t standing on no street corner or nuffin.  They just be giving me money.  The funny part is after it’s all over, if I get in the shower or fall asleep or something, when I wake up or come back in the room, money just be sitting on the bed or the dresser.  Ion’t even have to ask for it.  Ain’t that sweet?

“Smells rotten if you ask me.”

I just seem to attract a lot of men and Ion’t even have to leave my street to meet ‘em.  I think a lot girls be jealous of me and stuff but I can’t help that I’m popular and easy on the eyes.


Hottywood:  Easy?


FuFu:  Mmm Hmm; …easy on the eyes.


Hottywood:  Oh, oh, oh.  Yeah right.  That’s what I thought you said.  …So you like the way things are right now?  Everything’s going great?  …you’re happy?


FuFu:  Hell yeah boo-boo.  I mean, I wish I had a boyfriend or something right now, but I’m patient.  Why?  You trying to come over?


“Either a gunshot went off in the alley next to the ice cream truck or FuFu is throwing me a low blow. There is no other word to describe this moment better than, ‘…um.'”

I hate to interrupt the flow of the story, kiddies, but sadly the interview continued to take a quick trip down a short drain. And by that I mean I couldn’t stomach the ignorance of this broad.  FuFu is a cool chick and all and definitely someone worth having around when the carry out cashier tries to overcharge you for your food, but there’s only so much naivete’ one can take.

She went on and on about her ideal husband, describing him as someone who would have a lot of money, drive a big truck, and always offer her some of his beer. “…You know, what every woman looks for in a man.”  Her words.  Not mine.

After a few more shameless passes, gum popping and head pats, FuFu received a phone call from her ex, Datrell (but everyone around the way calls him Briefcase because he handles his business.)

He offered to take her to a movie and Burger King, so she had to get the coarse baby hair on the back of her neck straightened out and find a babysitter.  She asked me if I could watch her kids, but unfortunately it was the anniversary of the first day I ever noticed someone’s toenails could actually scrape the ground.  I had big plans.  I know, I know. Darn the luck.

Whatever the case for the end of the Q & A, I was thankful.  Never in my life have I had the UNpleasure of talking to someone so blinded, without morals and completely oblivious to her own self-values.

Ladies, and this goes to you, too, fellas; don’t get stuck in a box.  The world and the lives that it ensues are way too big for that.  It’s not worth anything at all if you keep being good at something you’re bad at.  Don’t be a LaShawnquonifa.

Quote of the Week:    “It’s not worth anything at all if you keep being good at something you’re bad at.”