If you live in the Bay, and are not choosing to be willfully ignorant, you probably already know that gentrification is a huge problem here. San Francisco’s proximity to Silicon Valley has attracted a lot of techie-type young professionals who are pushing out SF’s previous residents, especially those that are low income people of color. Those displaced are often moving to the East Bay, pushing the East Bay’s low-income residents of color out into far-flung suburbs with little of the resources the “inner-city” provides, such as public transit. Nothing I’ve said so far is anything that hasn’t already been said over and over again.
Resistance to gentrification takes many forms. Some, like Causa Justa and the Right to the City Alliance organize against evictions and foreclosures. Others, like local Barry Jenkins, make thoughtful films like Medicine for Melancholy, a love letter to the city of San Francisco lamenting the fact that many people of color can no longer afford to live there. And then you have Miss Persia and Daddie$ Pla$tik.
When I first saw Miss Persia and Daddie$ Pla$tik perform at Marga Gomez’s Comedy Bodega at Esta Noche in the Mission, I knew immediately I was witnessing something amazing. As someone who wrote my undergraduate thesis on the power of queer and trans people of color’s performance art, I recognized the performance of “Google Apps” as protest art, the likes of which I had never seen before. Even as I watched the performance, I didn’t feel like my mind was open enough to fully comprehend what I was witnessing. Which is why I’m really glad they made a video.
Though the slowly atrophying academic part of my brain is tempted to do a close reading, I will not interpret every line for you. That would be like reading a choose-your-own-adventure book where all your adventures are already chosen for you. I will say that I disagree with the interpretation of the video/song’s message as xenophobic. It’s pretty clear to me that Miss Persia and Daddie$ Pla$tik don’t want to be white, they just want to be able to stay in their homes.
What else can I say about this video? It’s hilarious, it’s obscene, and it’s poignant. Though thousands more words are sure to be spent explaining and opining on the housing crisis in the Bay Area, perhaps none will do so more successfully or succinctly than “Moving to the East Bay/Living life the broke way/SF keep your money/F*** your money!”