VH1 is taking their culture-forward digital docu-series to the West coast. Growing Up Black: Los Angeles will be the fourth installment of the show, described as “an unfiltered and in-depth look at the differences in the Black experience from one city to the next.” Previous episodes have featured New York, New Orleans, and Atlanta. For insight on Black L.A., the series turns to voices ranging in age, background, and industry for their expertise on their hometown.
The episode will focus on South Central L.A., highlighting the areas and cities of Compton, Crenshaw, and Inglewood among others. L.A. gang culture, the decriminalization of weed, Black entrepreneurship, local culture, and talent will all be covered in Growing Up Black: Los Angeles. There will also be a focus on protests and how movements in 1992 are in ways parallel to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.
Voices giving perspective to the docu-series include Compton Mayor Aja Brown, the youngest person ever elected to the role. Additionally, rapper Yo Yo and actor Tristen Winger give their takes on their communities. Inglewood Tip focuses on changing the narrative of gang culture. Gil Mathieu—whose family was the first black family to move into his neighborhood in Inglewood—and Pamela Bakewell, owner of the oldest Black Los Angeles newspaper, The Sentinel add to the story of Black Los Angeles.
The Ball Brothers, Chris and Charles Ball, and celebrity chef Kayla Greer are also key storytellers in the Growing Up Black: Los Angeles narrative.
“Growing Up Black: Los Angeles provides a platform for us to share our unique experiences in our amazing city, allowing people to see we are not a monolith. It gives a sneak peek into how each region adds its particular flavor to our abundant culture,” said Charles Ball in a statement provided exclusively to VIBE.
He added, “I hope the audience sees that we’re genuine and get inspired by our story. If we can encourage one person to follow their dream, show one person that “no” is not an acceptable answer, or sway one person to choose love over hate – I’ll be happy. Oh, and I want them to know WE ARE THE BALL FAMILY! All respect, of course.”
Greer shared a similar excitement to share the fullness of her hometown with the world. Her celebrity clientele includes Migos, Diddy, Drake, and more.
“What makes South Central Compton/ Inglewood/LA great is we’re all different but shine bright in our own way. LA is full of talents – so many people are creatives, athletes, artists, musicians, dancers. It’s extremely diverse; growing up one minute you’ll be in the hood then the next block is all multi-million dollar houses that our great grandparents have been owning passed down from generation to generation,” she shared in a statement provided exclusively to VIBE.
“The girls aren’t just cute but smart, and we’re go-getters. And the guys have a swag about them that’s different from anywhere else in the world. We have perfect weather 95% of the year and good food all over the city. We’re a huge county but so small and at the same time, everyone knows somebody that knows somebody that knows you. I couldn’t see myself from anywhere else, if you make it out here you can make it anywhere.”
Growing Up Black: Los Angeles premieres Thursday, June 24 at 4 pm ET as a VH1 YouTube premiere. Watch a sneak peek below.