Street Incubator

“Spoke some things into the universe and they appeared / I’ll say it’s worth it, I won’t say it’s fair.” -Nipsey Hussle

Rosalyn always spoke her mind, whether it was her conversation or not. When you grow up in a house of 13 children you learn quickly how important it is to speak up. You also learn how to fight. All those things would come in handy when she moved to San Francisco’s Fillmore District in the late 70s from Gary, Indiana to live with her step-father Stacy.

Even though her step-father and mother had divorced years ago, Stacy was the only man in her life that treated her kindly. After several months of fighting and rebelling with her mother, Rosalyn needed somewhere to escape. Stacy was that somewhere.

Shortly after moving here she enrolled at Lincoln High School in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset district. Everything about moving to San Francisco was overwhelming and this school was no different. Her accent made her stand out from the rest of the kids, but being a developed young woman also gave her a lot of attention from the older boys at school and men in the neighborhood.

One afternoon on her way home from school, she stopped to get a slice of pizza from her favorite place on the corner. A young man behind her insisted on paying for her slice. He smiled a lot when he spoke, his charm was disarming. She had never met a stranger with such nice clothes, was well mannered and treated her with such kindness. He reminded her of Stacy. His name was Rick.

She gave Rick her number and she left to catch the bus home from school. She smiled the entire way home, she smiled that night during dinner and she smiled while daydreaming about adventures she could take with Rick that night as she brushed her teeth before going to bed.

Rick was in the banking business. He didn’t work out of a traditional bank like the ones you see on the streets or commercials. According to Rick, they wouldn’t give a black man an opportunity to work in that industry, so he had to start a bank on his own. He held money for people in the community that couldn’t go to a traditional bank.

That sounded odd to Rosalyn, but she often heard her step-dad talk about how hard it was for black men to make it. Surely, her life presented so many challenges, she knew very well how the real the struggle was. It was attractive to meet someone like Rick who didn’t let the system hold him back. He found another way, he wasn’t a victim. He said he would help her break away from the system as well, but she had to be serious and committed. He didn’t have time to play high school games.

She was serious and she dropped out of high school to show her commitment. Her first month she made $7,500, which was more than her step-dad and her teachers made combined. She got her own apartment on Oak Street. Rick had a key. She wanted to please him and help him succeed. He wanted to keep his operation growing and needed people that would comply.

But, Rosalyn didn’t have the temperament to comply. She had ideas and she shared them in the same loud and at times aggressive way she had her entire life. Rick didn’t like that. After he hit her, she got the locks changed and quit working for him. He didn’t stress it, he would recruit new workers from the same pizza place every few months.

Not too long after Rick, Rosalyn met Michael. They got married and had two children. They named them Irene and Stevon.

To Be Continued...

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Music Recommendation: Victory Lap

Stevon Cook