Honkies In The Hood: Woo and J. Miz Reminisce

by WOO and J.MIZ
edited by ANDREW HICKS and WOO

WOO: Growing up in the hood, being the only white boy for six blocks, I realized quickly I was kind of like a pet or a mascot.

J.MIZ: Six blocks? I wasn’t even allowed to cross the street or go more than two houses down, and I could only ride my bike in the driveway. Until I was 7, I thought my Christian name was “Honkey.”

WOO: I soon learned that if I was passing a group of people and they said, “‘Sup,” I could stop and shoot the shit with them. “Come here, white boy!” meant I was about to lose my dignity and leave with a horrible headache.

J.MIZ: I got my hair pulled a lot, but weaves were expensive back then. I did rock several Afrocentric hair styles at the hands of my neighbor. Please erase any thoughts of Bo Derek in 10. We’re talking three ponytails, twisted with bubble-gum ball rubber-bands and multicolored barrettes shaped like poodles or other various hood dogs. My mom’s last straw was the black hair grease. I don’t mean African American either. The shit was black! Imagine the whitest, finest baby hair coated in STP 5W.

WOO: Best part of growin’ up on the hood? Free bicycles. Anytime bikes were stolen, the culprits would only keep the parts they needed, and the rest would be dumped into the alleyways. I’d pick up a frame one week, a couple wheels the next, handlebars the week after that, etc. I must assembled 40 bikes in my lifetime. My parents only bought me my first one at age 5. This is why I holler “East Side!” till I die.

J.MIZ: I got my first bike at 6, in February. It stayed in the basement for three months. Can you imagine trying to learn to ride with a perimeter including only your driveway and two houses in each direction? I woulda been fucked if anyone ever chased me. I was good for a sprint, but any demand of endurance would have lead to a quick ass-kicking demise. We kept our bikes in the basement, though, where we slept on New Year’s and Fourth of July. There were a lot of shootings on Wednesday or whatever, but those two holidays were off the hizzie.

WOO: My elementary school was four blocks away, and my mom made me walk there and back. Needless to say, I was a great endurance runner as a child.

Despite the existence of these signs, shootings still happen.

J.MIZ: I had the same situation with the four blocks. My mom would walk me to the corner, where I met up with the other three white kids. “Safety in numbers.” Being a girl, I dealt with more harrassment than ass kickings. Mom pulled me out of that school in second grade because I asked what “suck dick and eat pussy” meant. I then went to a hood Catholic School. I kept waiting for Jesus to explain oral.

WOO: In junior high, we almost had a race riot at school. A hundred white kids on one side of the playground, a hundred black kids on the other. The white kids always treated me funny after that, since I was standing with the black kids. 1) I’ve never had an issue with race. 2) Growing up in the hood, I knew who was going to win. I keeps it real.

J.MIZ: Was it P.S. Attica?! Good Lord, Woo! At the Catholic school, it was a transition from a black school to a Mexican school. So my bangs got huge, and I started listening to what is now called “freestyle” but back then was called “heartthrob.” Thankfully, we were near Chicago, so at least it was the BEST of that shit. That stint was also my introduction to organized and familial gangs. I still know all the handshakes.

WOO: Yeah I remember all the handshakes. We don’t really have much of a Hispanic population here. All our gangs were nationwide, with a few exceptions. No Mexicans, but we had Latin Kings, and it was a bunch of country-ass white boys. Figure that one out. Mostly, I grew up in Vice Lord and Gangster Disciple territory. I was always down with folks in my hood and was under wings with Black Gangsters. I’ve never in my life done a VL shake and never will.

J.MIZ: Damn.

WOO: I remember one time my boy Deontré had a cousin come stay with him from Los Angeles. Everything this fool owned was green. It was the only neutral color used by none of the L.A. gangs. Even his socks and underwear were green. We called his ass Lil’ Hulk.

J.MIZ: That was the gang my friends were in too: GD. To this day, I still wear my belt to the right. Yeah I was hard, kid! I’ve done the VL handshake, due to “ally” situations that revolved around dru… um, eh, Dru Hill CD swaps. My mom didn’t let us wear red, blue or gold with black. She’d beat that ass! In high school, I worked in a hood-ish retailer in our mall. A full four-gang treaty-dropping fight started at my job. If my mom had known half this shit, she’d have flipped out. What’s my argument? We totally had to know this, and we had that stuff happen at redacted Catholic academy!

WOO: I was lucky my school was considered neutral territory. I never really had to worry about anything there. I was too busy hanging out with the burnouts smoking… cigarettes in the alley across the street.

J.MIZ: We just had “wannabes.” My experience with gangs was sought out. I made Mom proud on a daily basis.

WOO: I was fortunate that most of my experiences with gangs came via my friend Deontré. I was a few years younger, and he always looked out for me. Well, except for the time he let his boy cap me in the shoulder with a pellet gun, but then he let me whoop his boys ass without retribution.

J.MIZ: Mine came from a boyfriend, who was white and the biggest hustler at the time. I’ll never forget his advice, “It’s cool if folks buy you a 40, but don’t smoke folks’ weed.” Oh, the days of Wiki. I feel jilted.

WOO: I remember hanging outside in the summer, and my boy and his friends were out front in the street hittin’ a blunt. I went over to them just to say wassup, and D passed me the blunt. I was nervous as hell. I’d smoked hella weed at this point, but I never smoked with him before. I hit it, nice and slow. *little puff* *BIG PUFF* Then I started choking and coughing like a motherfucker. I was like a slut in Throat Gaggers 16. Lost all my cred in one hit. They were laughin’ their asses off.

J.MIZ: Ugh! To this day, I hate blunts. But I can roll one like a champ! Can’t roll a joint to save my life. AKA Yeah, I hung out with brothers.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Stay tuned for future sessions of reminiscing.]

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