East Palo Alto Storytelling, Part 14

Jake Arky is the co-founder of So Say We All. At the time that this article was published, he is completing a playwriting residency with TheatreWorks, Silicon Valley. The Young Playwrights Project involves writing new, original works for the stage and teaching performance/writing classes in local high schools.

Class 14:

It’s October and when this month rolls around, Halloween is on the mind (or, at least, it is on my mind). Therefore, the East Palo Alto storytelling class was assigned to write a scary story set in their neighborhood. Like always, some jumped on the assignment while others pouted as they put their pens to the paper, but overall there was a general willingness to write a horror story.

The Bad News: My student who was having trouble at the beginning of the week told me that things got worse. That’s the reason he wasn’t at the last class. For his story, he went personal and wrote: “I don’t get scared — I get mad and sad….I started doing stupid things. I didn’t come the next day, which was on Tuesday. On that day, I smoked 2 boxes of cigarettes.”

Another student, an aspiring hip-hop artist, finally came through with some of the best work she’s produced. I really wanted her to compose a rap for The Roof Tops of East Palo Alto, the play the class has collectively written and will have actors perform in two weeks. For me, this is very exciting — having perviously spit on a mic under my rap moniker of Whip Cream, I now get to work with this girl on her rap. She said she needed help to make some rhymes, but truth be told, she’s got most of it down like a hot shizzle.

Here are the lyrics EPA STREETS:

I live in da bay, to be specific

Yeah, I rep EPA/

You can kick back and chill

And see different things all day/

Don’t come around here judgin’

Based on hate/

We got da playas, folks, gangstas, and da hoes

Who gettin played/

We ’bout our shit

We got co’ folks and enemies/

Got hatin’ bitches who wanna be me.

I’m a bossy ass female

Who know how to get down/

I only roll with the tightest,

Out here in EPA, we known for the finest/

Shit dat you can’t find!

If you didn’t know, den bitch ask about us

What we do is for real — we don’t play/

Don’t blame us

It’s just in these EPA streets it’s a must.