By YB Thompson
Hello, trendsetter. And thank you for allowing me into your knowledge bank. I bring to you a discussion platform to kick around thoughts, opinions and ideas about all that is moving in the urban centers that make up metropolitan Richmond. From new designs on becoming a top 10 city to the urban renaissance that is happening in RVA’s urban cores, there is a lot of fodder to work with.
Yes, thanks in large part to the housing crash, real estate mavericks have jumped on urban foreclosures and land deals of a lifetime to craft a whole new set of rental homes/spaces, giving way to a new, more youthful, more optimistic crew of city dwellers, ones with big ideas and creative views on what metro Richmond has to offer. It was even this new set of folks that gave birth to the concept of “RVA”. And in it, in that short three letter brand, this group rooted Richmond in the new way of the world – share and customize. Share your thoughts on the world around you, with the world, on how things look and feel, on how great the urban amenities are and how much color and creativity abound, and incorporate your view on what Richmond is.
The beauty of this new urban movement is that, thanks to its on-the-ground, from-the-people, street level roots, it has its own design. It is not controlled by old money or political associations or any of the old school power players that have otherwise dictated the direction of this area; instead, this new direction has the potential to be multicultural/multiethnic/universal. Any and everyone of all colors, walks of life, financial make up, and all the other many categories we box ourselves into, has the ability to say what Richmond is.
I bring to you a discussion platform to kick around thoughts, opinions and ideas about all that is moving in the urban centers that make up metropolitan Richmond.
And yet, with that ability, as a young black woman, I can’t help but wonder – where are the young black people in this equation? How will the existing black urban contingency fit? (Okay, I know this inquiry is real ‘90s of me; but, please grant me a short reprieve and stay with me for a moment. We are going somewhere, I promise.) I ask this because, while this new perspective, this new urban revitalization movement is happening, there still remains a sizeable contingency of urban blacks who made their way through the drug wars, the environmental injustices, the neighborhood preservation battles that have plagued most of America’s urban centers since these problems first surfaced. And today, a crazy number of blacks living in metro Richmond contend with poverty and unemployment. So how will they fit into RVA reborn?
Now that you made it through the heavy of all that, I think I have a viable solution, or at least one that will help stir the pot, and that is where our discussion platform comes into play. Today is our day, our time. The Richmond metro region was in large part crafted by brown and black hands. It was kept moving and thriving on the backs of brown and black people. It is time we claim this fact internally – mentally and spiritually – and embrace the pride and greatness that this legacy grants. The thing that has been so delicious about a “Chocolate City” DC is that distinct level of confidence, progress, class, power and can do spirit that it inspires. DC’s choco city nomer and the bounty of successful black folks that it bred made many want to be a part of it. Well, it may not seem like it given the self-segregation and cultural dynamics that remain, but Richmond has that level of potential for our multicolored people as well – if we harness it, claim it and run with it.
So, from this moment forward, our column, our discourse, will be all about exchanging ideas that help put us on a path to pride, progress and uplift. We’ve got to claim our part of the game.
YB Thompson is a local freelance writer and success enthusiast with 15 years of script behind her. Share your thoughts with her on twitter @ybtwrites.