SEATTLE – It’s easy to see facts and figures charting Seattle’s real estate boom as a positive sign for the city’s economy. But if you ask hip-hop artist Draze, it merely charts the demise of his neighborhood, the Central District.
‘When I look at this place, I think it’s changing,” he said Tuesday, “In some regards, it’s over. It’s dead.” Draze recently released a music video called, “The Hood Ain’t The Same”, about gentrification in the Central District and the end of Seattle’s African-American neighborhood. “We have a responsibility to preserve it if we really want diversity,” explained Draze outside a long-abandoned African-American owned business, “We’re into diversity. We like the concept. But what is diversity if I don’t exist.”
His song includes appearances by well-known community activists, documents the first African-American owned bank in Washington, old restaurants, bars and other landmarks, and how they’re drifting away. “They’re building, right now as we speak,” he said of the new homes popping up all over the area, “It’s beautiful, but it’s just different.” It’s also unaffordable for many.