Compton: Not A CNN News Clip

by mitzimsa on August 14, 2015

I can’t say I’m Straight Outta Compton but, Compton I am, I am Compton


I have mixed feelings about the highly anticipated movie NWA Straight Outta Compton.  Right up front let me say this….The story needed to be told and the content is so relevant to what continues in today’s headlines.  What I’m about to reveal will catch you off guard, I’m born and bred in the Midwest; Des Moines Iowa to be exact.  Possibly your first thought was to laugh and say “get the f*@k outa here”! Well, just hold on there’s more.

I fell for and married a brother from the same block as Eazy E and MC Ren; moved to Compton over 20 + years ago.  My first go around with this fair city brought on many unwelcomed surprises that would have scared me straight if need be.  Comin where I come from and living in the Mid-Wilshire, Hollywood and WLA areas of Los Angeles my first encounters seemed like a story on the evening news.

Remembering when I spoke with family back home and mentioned I was living in Compton; the question of “WHY” was always voiced rather loudly and shockingly followed by “YOU BETTER BE CAREFUL”.  Questions would always continue and most times includeing “not by that liquor store they always talk about in the videos or by that street Greenleaf?”  I would assure them that I was fine while trying to assure myself that I would be fine.  My husband and his family seem to look at me and speak to me in a tone that resembled “come on baby we’ll take care of you” which left me feeling confused because in my mind I was wondering if I needed to be protected or taken care of.  This became a constant voice in my head along with police sirens and ghetto birds ringing in my ears it caused much concern and anxiety along with outside discussions of how to move my Compton ride or die husband out of the hood.

Once I relaxed and became more comfortable with my surroundings, I started to identify the disperse and loss of more than friends and family but a community that was slipping away you could see it and feel it. The King Riots had jumped off and OJ had taken over the news wave. While the rest of the world was advancing and thriving Compton was not on the list of attraction.

The city government was in shambles, police force, and educational institutions where being turned over to others to run. The loss of access to a trauma based hospital in the surrounding area was a tragedy within itself, as the war resembling level of violence continued.

All cultures worldwide have absorb rap as part of their own in one way or another, but are not aware of the real essence of the struggle of Compton residents then and now.


When I see the attitude change on faces of co-workers or people that I encounter when I say I live in Compton, it makes me want ta holla.  I was once told “you say where you live like its Beverly Hills followed by… I never would have thought…it’s so dangerous… how do you live there??!”  I often wonder if it makes them think different of me, who they perceived me to be before the enlightment and where do I stand now in their minds.

The press has and continues to play a major role in the image that the world has of Compton.  Can you believe that there are actually guided tours, people come from all over the world to see; COMPTON the home of Gangsta Rap…they want to experience and see all the negativity that they’ve heard, read and or have seen of the Hub City!

We are now in the 21st Century and the description of Compton across the board of social media and the internet has not been updated to reflect the rebirth, new development, the people and our neighborhoods of the City Of Compton.   We are not the 20th Century CNN News Story or Clip. The media no longer has to slice and dice footage to continue to show a negativity eye.  Now that the Compton story has made a turn the camera is not here to accentuate the positive.

Though there is still no existent of the Compton PD, and we have not regained control of Compton College we have made major strides in many areas.  New single family home development along with major retail chains have come into the area with success and continue to permeate are neighborhoods.

How about that they final noticed that we are productive, home owing citizens with buying power!

Our children are able to see hope and invest in their community as they aspire to be doctors, scientists and teachers and have identified that they can make it out of the hood not only in music or sports. Our gradation success rate in Compton High Schools are outstanding, resident children are going on to major universities. With the retail presence comes jobs for the community and we now have access to a hospital in the area. The City Government, is as we all know it to be no matter where we live, politics.

Let’s face it, some remembrance of the old days were brought to the forefront as the biopic filming got underway. The City of Compton has no choice in the matter it is and will always be an honorary member of NWA and a major character of the movie.   During filming an unrelated drive-by shooting took place in front of the set. As well as during filming of a promotional trailer after filming had wrapped for the movie, the now worldwide publicized incident with Suge Knight; which resulted in a death and now has him on trial for murder.

My mixed feelings stem not from the content, creativity and talent but the arousal of the negativity that the rest of the world outside of Compton perceives the city to be. The world needs to know that we are not entrapped by drugs, gangs and poverty as you believe us to be. The city is shining brightly and deserves the chance to show its positive light!

See you at the movie but, “Don’t quote me boy cause I ain’t said shit”


Ms. Mitzi, you really stepped into Compton at a deep time of unrest, huh? But you stayed. You believed. You supported and participated in the rebirth you so eloquently describe. Hats off to you and your fellow residents who are hard-working, God-believing, positive Black folk for staying the course. And THANK YOU for telling the story main-stream media finds to boring to tell: Compton is alive and doing WELL these days! I learned somethin’ – and you will always be an Iowan and nothing wrong with that!

by Lori Young, Des Moines, IA - August 14, 2015 - 10:42 am. Reply #

Wow. Thank you for such a wonderfully written, moving account of what life in the neighborhood was truly like, without the media slant.

by Mariana L. - August 18, 2015 - 7:46 am. Reply #

Well-said and many insights on the city of Compton and living there without the stereotypes or media portrayal. I am glad to hear the city is on the rise thanks to citizens like you that believe, support, and are ready for the upswing.

by Aliah - August 18, 2015 - 11:06 am. Reply #

love this piece and your insight. thank you for it.

by ES - August 19, 2015 - 11:39 am. Reply #

Very good perspective. I think as much as SOC is an important film on many levels, they did leave some pieces out. I like that they showed that Ice Cube wasn’t a gangster, and that they showed things like the riots, etc. that were such a huge part of history, and let you know why people were full of angst in those times. Sadly, so much of the police brutality is still a factor. Even then, Compton shouldn’t be reduced to a town full of rappers and gangs, because it’s much more than that. Hopefully more people from Compton will stand up and tell their stories too.

by Dove - August 20, 2015 - 5:02 pm. Reply #

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