In These sKCreets KC All Day

What The Hell Happened To 18th & Vine?

Thursday, July 16, 2015Ava Bella

There have been many days that I come outside of my office here on 18th & Vine and wonder what the hell is going on. Why is it quiet? Why are almost all of the lights off? Why is this prime real estate vacant? Why is this part of Kansas City not buzzing with traffic from locals, party goers, tourists, etc. at all times. It really hurts my feelings. More so, my heart! 

The abandoned buildings and false fronts left from the movie they did almost 20 years ago. What the hell happened??!! This piece of the city is so rich in history, but most kids don't even learn about it anymore. Why? Why don't they know? Why are people so focused on Westport, the Country Club Plaza, or Power and White (I mean light)? Is this happening in other African American historical neighborhoods/districts in the US? Is it just here in Kansas City? Here is my reflection from last night...

18th & Vine KCMO Photo Cred: AvaBella



This is the scene...It's 7PM on a Wednesday night and here I am smack dab in middle of the pride of Kansas City...or maybe I'm mistaken? Maybe our pride is the BBQ, is it baseball, or is it our football team that consistently gets us to the superbowl (there is so much sarcasm there I almost fell out of this chair)? Well, we used to be known for Jazz...


Kansas City, Missouri's 18th & Vine Jazz District is where this genre began. From here sprung forth the new Kansas City sound that others began to duplicate, then they realized they had to be here! People would come from all over the world to get we got! Other historically African American districts throughout the country don't look like this; I guarantee. What changed?

Inside the 18th & Vine's Historic Lincoln Building (where my office is) - Photo Cred: AvaBella


We're loosing our salt here in KC; our essence. For so long, my generations answer has been to leave and cultivate businesses/initiatives in Atlanta, LA, New York, Houston, Dallas, etc. for a while, I thought that was the answer, too. Then I decided to take what I learned, what I've created, bring it right back here, and use it to further the place I'll always call hometown: KC. Did you guys even know about the Jazz Walk of Fame? To me its better than Hollywood, because its where I'm from :)

Sometimes, if you look around, and something doesn't feel right, you do something about it. Sometimes you don't just throw it away to the wolves. See those wolves are gonna royally screw it up! They'll misuse it, and you'll look up and there will be a whole other agenda. The rich historic value will be lost.

I guess what I'm saying is don't be so quick to turn your back on you...

I'm open to suggestions. I know I don't have all the answers. So what can we do to revive this area? What have you seen other cities do? If you're from Kansas City what do think happened? Why are people so pumped to go to Westport (the port where the slaves were bought to sell), and places like the Country Club Plaza and P&L (where we clearly are not welcome)? I'm lost. Help me out. Sound off... Email me... Let's talk about it!


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Thanks for reading,

-AB
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