This week's feature involves asking a few St. Louisans what one thing they would change about our city. Several of the people involved are of particular interest to us here at RFT Music, including rapper Tef Poe, Pretty Little Empire's Justin Johnson and Apop Records owner Tiffany Minx. There are plenty of exciting things about living in St. Louis, but that doesn't mean we go to sleep in a modern urban paradise. Read their ideas below.
New Year's Revolution: If you had the power to make one change that would improve life for St. Louisans in 2012, what would that change be? Photos and interviews by Khoolod Eid
Tef Poe, hip-hop artist
In 2012 I would like to see St. Louisians unite over more than just baseball. Our city lacks unity and is one of the most segregated cities in the nation. We are a Midwestern town with a 1960s type of Southern mentality when it comes to segregation. We have portions of our city that have been devastated by white flight. Everyone was insanely excited about the Cardinals winning the World Series. Most of the people doing back flips over our team being in the limelight technically don't even live in St. Louis.
I'd also really like to see us take a realistic approach to racial profiling and discrimination. A while ago I was working for the mayor, canvassing to stop a certain proposition from passing. Long story short, while I was in Mayor Slay's neighborhood someone called the police on me simply for being black. A few months later the U. City police department had me facedown on the ground with guns to my head. I wasn't charged with any crime, nor was I arrested. We lack unity as a city, so any form of discrimination and profiling seems to flourish here. Everybody loves everybody during baseball season. Yet when the season ends, it's back to Chesterfield, where my neighbors are all white, and I feel safe. I love St. Louis, but it's time for us to become a racially progressive city.
Tiffany Minx, owner of Apop Records
Extending the MetroLink train line beyond its limited central corridor function would, I think, be very beneficial for everyone. It could decrease car traffic, allow for people to seek jobs easier and be an asset to attract new residents. Also, we have this huge deposit of non-STLer college kids stuck in a few specific locales; no disrespect intended, but St. Louis has so much more to offer outside of these safe zones.
Justin Johnson, singer and guitarist for Pretty Little Empire
Not to sound all Whitney Houston on you, but let's do something for the kids. The change I would make to improve the lives of St. Louis residents would be an increase in the number of youth centers, specifically geared toward the arts, throughout the city and county. Growing up in St. Louis, I felt a real lack of non-sports-related activities to get involved in. It would have been great to have a place to go and find new interests. In the last ten years or so, technology has made it much easier to make films, record music and create multimedia works of art. If money were no object, it would be great to have a state-of-the-art media center where kids and teens could go after school and on weekends. It would give them a chance to experiment with a variety of mediums and allow the process of starting and completing projects without worrying about how to finance them. Kids and teens in St. Louis would benefit immensely from having a place to paint, sculpt, record, edit, film, write and just be able to create, without worry. I know that growing up, I would have loved it.