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That’s where I lived when I first came to New York. When I first got to New York, some of the greatest musicians I knew were living in housing projects. All black communities in New York were infested with heroin.

Then as you get older, friends stray away from each other and become enemies. I miss my friends that are no longer here, whether they’re locked up or dead.

You get the feeling that the minute you tell somebody that you’re receiving public assistance, it’s a thumbs down.

I feel like most people are on the outside looking in, or on the inside looking out. There’s nothing good coming out of it.” Someone else can always raise an objection and point out an example of something good.

Do you feel like the stereotypes of housing projects are justified?

Some of the most talented people I’ve ever met in my life. What do you say to people who feel that housing projects are like social black holes – that you can never evolve as a fully functional, productive member of society?

The first one I remember hanging around a lot was the Marcy Projects where Jay-Z was born and raised. It doesn’t mean the people were inherently that way from the beginning. But I thought it was a very organized place, because there were places for kids to play- lots of room to play, benches to sit on, a nice park by the river. I used to just sit there on the bench and look at the East River.

You were a member of the tenant patrol for many years. I used to sit in the lobby and greet people as they came in. You’ll sit up there and buy a ,000 to 0,000 watch, but that kind of money in the hood could go a long way in starting programs. If you try to say “hello,” they think you’re crazy.

That’s in line with my morals, values, and beliefs. I went to live in California and stayed for five and a half years. I don’t want to put any names out there, but there are famous people who are from Tompkins Houses who claim they’re not from here because it’s a blemish. If you’ve made it and you have money, what’s wrong with taking one of these vacant buildings and opening a space to help out – a space to teach job training skills? Jayro has recently released an eponymous 14-track album of experimental rock fusion under the nom de plume “There’s No Such Thing As Giants.” How long did you live in Queensbridge Houses? We had to go out and hustle and find the means to get what we needed. But here, no one would talk to you; they’d ignore you and just go their own way.

She has since gone on to great success as a singer with her soul revival group, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. I’ll get my mother and my sister out.” And believe it or not, I’m an official homeowner as of October. But I’m still mindful of other people’s perceptions.

In 2010, the group’s fourth critically acclaimed album , which starred Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. In the last few years, my career has been climbing.

Was there ever a time when you felt ashamed of living in public housing? They always asked me where I lived at, and I’d say “East New York.” Like that made it better. NBC News wanted to come and film me in my apartment. ” Not so they could come up in there, in the elevator stepping over urine and feces.