Long Beach Culture
The culture of the 'LBC' as it is known by many of its citizens, is one of a kind. It is a type of culture that cannot be captivated by official website and videos, but by the people who grew up in Long Beach themselves. Those who know what the residents really go through, and by media that interprets Long Beach according to their own views and perspective. The city has a very deep artistic culture, that is not really shown at its many museums but through mediums of their own.
The LBC is not only a very historical city because of the landmarks that are in the city but because of the 'LBC' culture. The term has been made popular by the popular rapper Snoop Dogg who was born and raised in Long Beach, and who attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Snoop Dogg has opened the culture of Long Beach to the world through his music and the work that he does in the city. He brings a very important unofficial perspective to the city from someone who faced the violence, drug, and street life culture. Currently, it is very hard to think of Snoop Dogg without thinking of his hometown Long Beach, and the work that he continues to give back to the city. He has proudly brought Long Beach to the world through the artistic means of his lyrics and self-image portrayal.
While the following song is not one of his best known songs, it makes it very evident that Snoop Dogg really embraces the Long Beach culture that he grew up in. The song mentions weed, sex, and gang life and these are the realities that many Long Beach residents grow up with. Life is not as easy for the youth of Long Beach who grow up within this type of environment, and Snoop has been able to display this side of Long Beach to the rest of the world.
The following videos show the work that is being done the with the current Long Beach youth. Snoop Dogg does a lot of work with his local Long Beach community, like organizing basketball tournaments and often speaking at the High Schools to encourage the youth to never give up and to follow their dreams. He not only supports his community but he gets other celebrities to also support it as well. Snoop has also brought a lot of attention to this alma matter Long Beach Polytechnic High School, referred to as Poly High for short. Poly High is one of the biggest High Schools in the city catering to over 5,000 students. The High School is known for excelling in both academics. The University of California (UC) System admits more students from Poly High than any other High School in the state. This is because of the strong magnet and academic programs that the school offers. The High School also excels in sports, more notably football known by Sports Illustrated as "The Sports School of the Century" in 2005.1.
This is a clip from a very popular movie called Freedom Writers which is a film about students at Woodrow Wilson Classical High School located in the Eastside of Long Beach. The film is about a teacher who is played by the actress Hilary Swank who decides to teach at this Long Beach High School. She is given a classroom full of "unteachables" or students who are not interested in learning, and students who seemingly have no aspirations to pursue higher education. However, these students are going through some real world problems of their own. Some have family members dead or in jail because of gang violence, others come from broken families, and most come from households of very low socioeconomic status.
While racial segregation is not as prominent as it once was, the issues that these characters faced in the movie are many of the issues that many Long Beach youth have to face to this day. Contrary to popular belief, when kids are born into gang circles it is not as easy for them to get out as most people think. The movie shows that these students are not bad inherently, they just always find themselves in the wrong situations. I felt that this was a very strong representation of Long Beach through cultural media because, the youth from gang-related neighborhoods are often judged by those communities who did not go through those experiences. The communities of color within Long Beach are often the target of criticism because Long Beach is known for having a lot of gang violence throughout the years, and most members belong to different ethnic minority groups. This movie shows that while the education system in Long Beach may be flawed, the minority students who come from low-income communities should not be given up on. That they do have the potential to engage in their communities in a positive light and become some of the first people in their families to attend college.
Lethal Weapon 4
There were several scenes that were filmed in Long Beach in the movie Lethal Weapon IV with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The classic action film shows Long Beach as a very urban city that has it all. The beach is given a lot of attention, during the car chase, and throughout the movie Long Beach is depicted to be a very sunny and urban space with lots of leisure activities. The industrial parts of the city are also shown when characters are chasing each other also alluding to the urbanization of the city. Through the movie, viewers could probably infer that the city has a lot of scenic and recreational spaces but that it is also a very urban and industrial city within Los Angeles.
Port of Long Beach
It is important to recognize that the port is not only recognized by official sources but that it is also recognized in literary works. The port is very important to the city because without the port, Long Beach would not be recognized as a global city. The city would not have the economic strength or dominance without the port, and this is recognized not only by the official city sources but by literary works as well who also explore the history of the port and how it came to be the port that it is today.The city is at the center of international trade in the Western Hemisphere and a lot of its revenue and success has been attributed to the port.
Football in Long Beach
Football in Long Beach in general has always been very important to its residents. One of the main reasons why football is so popular in the city is because Long Beach Polytechnic High School has made the most National Football League (NFL) players than any other high school. NFL players include DeSean Jackson, Johnny Morris, and Gene Washington. This is attributed to the support and importance that football programs are given in the city. The book not only explores the lives of these players in their hometown but it also talks about NFL players that have came out of other Long Beach High Schools, Long Beach City College, and Long Beach State University.
Long Beach has been able to produce a lot of artistic and cultural talent throughout the years that have allowed the city to be represented through different mediums. Often, the community that is not talked about in the official city and tourist webpages is talked about in movies, books, and songs. Artistic mediums have exposed the street life of Long Beach, one that is very prideful of where it comes from but also very dangerous. Many of the streets of Long Beach suffer from drug consumption and gang violence, and as a city it is hard to showcase that. This violence is mostly experienced by the communities of color who often do not have a voice or representation in the mass media and are instead criticized by it. It is important that the world becomes aware of these issues through different mediums so that they do not only have a one-sided view of this global city.
By: Katherine Herrera
1Wikepedia: Long Beach Polytechnic High School February 14, 2014.
"Freedom Writers" Rotten Tomatoes Review. Accessed March 2014.Web.
Football in Long Beach Amazon Book Reviews. Accessed March 2014. Web
Long Beach, California Sunset
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