August 2019: Gentrification: Whose block is it anyway?

Brooklyn, Brixton, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Newark, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, Charlotte, Philadelphia—here is a list of some of the cities experiencing dramatic shifts in its landscape that are best defined as gentrification.

While some describe it as a welcomed renewal of urban terrain left neglected, others see it as a takeover. Urban geographer, Tom Slater, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, describes gentrification as “the spatial expression of economic inequality.” Filmmaker Spike Lee termed it as “the motherfucking Christopher Columbus syndrome.” 

This is why we ask, “Whose block is it, anyway?” For Ark Republic’s fourth Major Collaborative Project (MCP), we call for your help tell stories of gentrification: a contested space of ideas, cultures and economies. Gentrification describes the phenomenon in which areas are usually occupied by poor or middle-class Black and Brown residents that are changed by mostly (but not all) wealthy, white persons, corporations and investment firms.

Ark Republic espouses to be a “media revolution” that holds the power and perspective of the people as its greatest resource. With that said, we are creating a multilingual, multimedia collaborative project that mobilizes the many voices that make up our stories. We have called on professors, professionals, community members, activists, journalists, storytellers, analysts, creators and everyday folk to tell a story that has many layers to unfold. We ask you to be a part of this massive, powerful narrative.

April 2019 | Cannabis: Legalize + Criticize it + Advertise it

“Cannabis: Legalize it + Criticize it + Advertise it,” is inspired by Jamaican recording artist and Rastafarian, Peter Tosh who released, “Legalize it,” a single and album with the same name in 1976. The song advocated for the legalization of cannabis use on the Caribbean island. 

During this time, the Jamaican government profiled the Rastafarian community for their cultural practices, one of which was the growing and smoking of marijuana. Tosh predicted that cannabis would be so commonplace in the future that it would be used like a cigarette.

Speed up four decades later, countries around the world have introduced and passed legislation allowing for the use of marijuana. As nations decriminalize the selling and consumption of cannabis, old histories and issues emerge. At the same time, new narratives come forward. In short, much is still very complicated. Let’s unpack cannabis and tell the stories we will never hear.

March 2019 | The Marathon Continues: Nipsey Hussle

The untimely murder of Nipsey Hussle, birth name, Ermias Asghedom transformed me. From shock to anger to grief to sadness to purpose—all these mark the stages that end with this impromptu major collaborative project, The Nipsey Hussle Edition.

Nine contributors have been writing and creating to put this collective opus together of 11 pieces of work dedicated to the coverage and exploration of the life, passing and legacy of Hussle.

Los Angeles became a shrine, an altar to Nip. In ancient rituals, the people defined their superheroes and saints. What we the people are doing is creating our own own divine, and one who mirrors us, in our image. That is powerful and sacred. So, here is our part.

September 2018 | Hurricane Trifecta: One Year Later

Ark Republic’s inaugural signature reporting initiative, a major collaborative project (MCP) titled, “The Hurricane Trifecta: One Year Later,” explores the massive storms that tore through the Caribbean, Central America and parts of the US, in 2017.

To mark the one year anniversary of the disasters, Ark Republic published a series of articles from our staff and contributors in August-September 2018 that highlight the hurricanes and their long term effects.

This MCP was a two-week-long multimedia series running exclusively on Ark Republic’s website, starting Monday, August 27 then concluding, Thursday, September 10.