I went to Scottwood Elementary, Columbus public. Then we moved to Whitehall, I wasn’t thrilled about it. My brother still attended Columbus public. I was kind of irritated by that. I wanted to be with my people, my friends. I felt like I got taken out of my element. Although there were some perks to being in Whitehall schools, I got to experience some things, I could not wait to go back to Columbus public. My ninth grade year was when they had a city-wide open enrollment. Anybody could go to whatever high school that they wanted to. As long as they could get there, they could go. This was a great welcome home for myself, to go back to Columbus public at Walnut Ridge. It was so crazy because all the people went to the schools that they wanted to. The gangs were high around that time. All the Bloods went to one school; all the Crips went to another. They started linking up with their cousins. But I was excited about it because I was around my people.
The east side has changed a lot. I remember a time when you could be in a neighborhood, open up your door, just have your screen door open and your main door open and people would knock and you didn’t have to deal with all the nonsense. The east side is family oriented, although poverty is starting to push out. I remember when poverty more or less resided in central Columbus but now it’s pushing out a little bit. The east side is kind of like what you see on TV with water fights, kids running in the streets, coming home when the lights came on, being able to walk the neighborhood with your crew and not worry about nothing. Riding the bus, going to your local mall or the flea market on Saturday. The east side was middle class American families, all cultures, all creeds getting along, doing their thing. The 80s and the 90s were pretty awesome. 2000, it kind of shifted.
The Coming Home festival – everybody who had left Columbus and moved out, this would be a community block party where you would reunite. People you hadn’t seen in ages would walk up and down the street. Listen to music, barbecue, everything. The Coming Home was like Comfest, but not like Comfest in any way, shape or form. It was like the Harlem party of the city. You would see your cousins, uncles, auntie, great auntie, meeting everyone, one big reunion. They had it every year. They had to shut it down because it started to get shot up because the generation above me in their 20s was going over there. You would see all the different styles of cars and the music pumping, but they started shooting out there so the shut it down. There’s always somebody there to ruin the party.
I would love to live in the King Arts District. Just because the memories, the things that made me fall in love with Columbus are being revitalized now. My father is the one that introduced me to the city and help me fall in love with the city. Don’t get that twisted, I would love to live there. The right house, the right character. I would do that. What my father used to do is when we were younger, we would go for a late night drive. He would take us around this whole city. That’s why I love the city at night. We would drive around the city, downtown. He would point and say what everything is. He would connect me to parts of the city. He would show me that parts of the city were an extension of me through him. He used to perform over at the Marble Game, or the Cannon Bar, because my dad is a singer. He was a known singer in the city. If you’re in Columbus you know Kenneth Latham. When we had the Coming Home on Mount Vernon, I’ve been there. Just to see all the communities come together and have fun. You hear the music playing from the Marble Game and all these different places. I would say my identity is in the King Arts District.
We’re an impactful pocket of the world. I just wish Columbus knew how impactful it was. We’re a fist balled up on the side of this whole country! If we could just strike, if we knew how powerful we were, we could make a big difference in this world. Columbus just needs to understand that we’re on the map. I think other people see Columbus on the map, we just need to see it!